Triple-checked facts of civilian-army rift story: Pak journo
A prominent Pakistani journalist, who was briefly barred from travelling abroad over reporting a rift between the civilian and military leaderships, on Sunday stuck to his story, saying he had “triple-checked” the facts.
“Because nothing of the reaction had been unanticipated, nothing had been left to chance before the story was put out in print,” Cyril Almeida, a columnist and reporter for the Dawn, said in his column ‘A week to remember’ published in on Sunday’s edition of the newspaper.
He wrote: “The story had arrived fairly quickly after the fateful meeting on October 3, but it was only published on October 6. The gap was all about verifying, double- and triple-sourcing and seeking official comment.
In his story ‘Act against militants or face international isolation’, Almeida reported that the civilian government has warned the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought action against banned terror groups, like Hafiz Saeed’s LeT, Masood Azhar’s JeM and the Haqqani network, or face international isolation.
The Nawaz Sharif government denied the facts of the story and subsequently placed Almeida’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL), barring him from leaving the country. However, under media pressure, the government on Friday removed his name from the list but constituted a committee to probe the matter.
The development was followed by a Corps Commanders’ Conference last week presided over by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif in which concerns were raised on feeding “story that was a breach of security”.
In his comments on Sunday, Almeida further said: “For me, and for the paper, there were only two questions that mattered.
Did the meeting take place? Could I verify through multiple channels what was said? Yes, the heart races a bit faster when you do something out of the ordinary. Yes, there is always some concern for the self.
“The second part is trickier than it would appear, but it is also not as hard as it is made out to be. Stick around long enough and you get a sense of how this place works. And the place gets a sense of you. You know the camps, you know the divisions and splits, and you know at any given time who may be interested in selling what. They exist in civilian as much as they do in military.” “With a meeting like this and a story like that, you sniff around until you get a bunch of overlapping facts from camps that have no obvious reason to overlap”, he added.
Pak school chain bans Punjabi language; terms it ‘foul’
A group of private schools in Pakistan owned by former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri has banned Punjabi within and outside the campus after terming it a “foul language”, drawing flak from millions of people.
The Beaconhouse School System (BSS) has recently issued a notification to parents, declaring Punjabi a ‘foul language’ for the children as well as parents. “Foul language is not allowed within and outside the school premises, in the morning, during the school hours, and after home time,” the fifth point of the notification reads. The notice explains the definition of ‘foul language’ as, “Foul language includes taunts, abuses, Punjabi and the hate speech”.
A number of parents, prominent Punjabi language activists and literary organisations have demanded the school administration to immediately withdraw the notification and tender apology to those hurt.