Times Story on Pakistan-Bin Laden Ties Vanishes in Pakistan Papers

International editions of the New York Times appeared in Pakistan Saturday with a huge gaping white space where a story on Pakistan's alleged ties to Osama Bin Laden should have been, according to multiple reports from journalists and observers in the region.

The Carlotta Gall story, "What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden," has been much ballyhooed in the U.S. press for several days now. It's actually a much broader retelling of Gall's frustration at being stonewalled for years by U.S. and Pakistani officials over the latter government's messy involvement with jihadism. But it also reassesses long-standing rumors that the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence agency, had sheltered the Al Qaeda sheikh until his killing by U.S. military forces in 2011. (It's an allegation that's not without its critics, even today.)

It ran on the front page of the Times' international edition published in Asia on Saturday:

Times Story on Pakistan-Bin Laden Ties Vanishes in Pakistan Papers

But it's noticeably and eerily absent from papers in Pakistan, according to multiple recipients:

Times Story on Pakistan-Bin Laden Ties Vanishes in Pakistan Papers

Times Story on Pakistan-Bin Laden Ties Vanishes in Pakistan Papers

So far, there's been no public comment on the story's absence. We'll update as soon as there is.

Update: The Times' Ravi Somaiya got a comment from his own paper and wrote up the flap:

A spokeswoman for The New York Times, Eileen Murphy, said that the decision by the partner paper, The Express Tribune, had been made "without our knowledge or agreement."

The partner was recently the subject of an attack by an extremist group, she said. "While we understand that our publishing partners are sometimes faced with local pressures," she said, "we regret any censorship of our journalism."

Though the article appeared to have been excised from all copies of the newspaper distributed in Pakistan, the story seemed to be available to Pakistani readers online, Ms. Murphy said. There was no answer at a number listed for the partner paper's parent company, the Lakson Group, on Saturday.