Lahore: Pakistan's government has imposed a travel ban on a leading journalist after he sparked an uproar by reporting that civilian officials had clashed with the military over its covert support for militants. Cyril Almeida, Dawn’s assistant editor, took to his twitter account on Monday to point out that his name has appeared on the list. “I am told and have been informed and have been shown evidence that I am on the Exit Control List,” he tweeted.
The Exit Control List is an ordinance which empowers the Pakistan government to bar people whose names appear on the list from leaving the country. In the article titled “Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military”, Almeida stated that some in the civilian government complained at a top-secret meeting that they were being asked to do more in order to clamp down on armed groups, yet whenever law-enforcement agencies took action, the security establishment “worked behind the scenes to set the arrested free”.
According to the October 6th report, the civilian government’s representatives at the meeting gave warning that Pakistan would be risking “international isolation” if the security establishment did not take the recommended course of action. “Dawn would like to clarify and state on the record several things. First, this newspaper considers it a sacred oath to its readers to pursue its reporting fairly, independently and, above all, accurately.
The story that has been rejected by Prime Minister’s Office as a fabrication was verified, cross-checked and fact-checked,” the Editor of Dawn said in a statement.
“Second, many at the helm of affairs are aware of the senior officials, and participants of the meeting, who were contacted by the newspaper for collecting information, and more than one source confirmed and verified the details. Therefore, the elected government and state institutions should refrain from targeting the messenger, and scape-goating the country’s most respected newspaper in a malicious campaign,” it added.
The report further cites that the arguments made by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, during the meeting in the Prime Minister’s Offices triggered a debate with the military leadership Almeida’s article came against the backdrop of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following the surgical stake carried out by Indian Armed Forces across the Line of Control (LoC) on September 29.