Embarrassed Islamabad puts travel curbs on Dawn journalist
Pakistan has decided to go ahead with “stern action” against journalist Cyril Almeida for writing an exclusive report for highly circulated Dawn newspaper about differences between country’s civilian and military leadership. Islamabad restricted Almeida’s movements, by putting him on an “Exit Control List”, not allowing him to go out of the country.
Almeida reported an exclusive story last week for Dawn newspaper that the civilian government in Islamabad told the all-powerful Pakistan army to clamp down on terrorists or risk facing international isolation. Though Islamabad denied the story, in a note on its website, Dawn said it stood by its story and added that “the elected government and state institutions should refrain from targeting the messenger.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered, “stern action” in the matter following a meeting Pakistan’s chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and chief of the ISI Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar.
A statement issued after the meeting said, “The participants (at the meeting) were unanimous that the published story was clearly violative of universally acknowledged principles of reporting on national security issues and has risked the vital state interests through the inclusion of inaccurate and misleading contents which had no relevance to actual discussion and facts.”
Cyril Almeida, following the order, posted on micro-blogging site twitter saying, he is “puzzled, (and) saddened” that Islamabad can now stop him from leaving the country because he “had no intention of going anywhere.” Almeida had reported that the civilian Sharif government’s officials openly confronted army officials - in what he called an “extraordinary exchange” - at a secret meeting last week following the surgical strike carried out by the Indian Army commandos inside PoK.