Post controversial report, Pakistan bans Dawn journalist from flying abroad

Cyril Almeida's report published in the Dawn newspaper had revealed a rift between the civilian and military officials over the latter’s support to jihadi groups

Amidst severe criticism over its “support” on terrorism, Pakistan reportedly banned a prominent journalist from leaving the country after the journalist reported a rift between the civilian and military officials over the latter’s support to jihadi groups.

Cyril Almeida, a prominent columnist and reporter of Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, announced that he had been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) after his story published on Friday.

The front-page story had revealed that the country’s leading civilian officials had warned the Army to stop offering covert support for proxy fighters.

In his tweet, Almeida said: “I am told and have been informed and have been shown evidence that I am on the Exit Control List.”

The ECL, maintained by the Government of Pakistan under the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, allows the government to prohibit people from leaving the country.

Meanwhile, a source from Dawn newspaper said that this controversy might result in a two-month ban on the newspaper in the country.

The story, which revealed a clash between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and  Rizwan Akhtar, the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), had earlier triggered a controversy in the country.

According to the report, Akhtar was told that the country could only avoid international isolation if it took action against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Haqqani network. However, Prime Minister’s office, rejected the news, saying that the report is a “fabrication”.

The statement released by PMO said the report “has risked the vital state interests through inclusion of inaccurate and misleading contents which had no relevance to actual discussion and facts”.

Almeida reportedly booked on a Tuesday morning flight to Dubai for a long-planned holiday with members of his family.

“Was a long-planned trip, for at least several mths now. There are certain things that I will never, ever forgive,” Almeida said in a tweet.

After Uri attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers, Pakistan has been facing severe criticism from all over the world over its soft stand on terrorism.  Many have accused the strong tie between Army and terrorists, citing the Pakistan Army’s reluctance to move against terror outfits.