Dawn Columnist Cyril Almeida Barred From Leaving Country

Dawn Columnist Cyril Almeida Barred From Leaving Country

Islamabad: Days after his exclusive story on growing rift between the Nawaz Sharif government and Pakistan’s military leadership created ripples across the world, the civilian regime in a swift move on Tuesday put Dawn columnist Cyril Almeida on Exit Control List.

An Exit Control List is a type of a border control measure maintained by the Pakistan government which empowers it to bar people named in the list from leaving the country.

Almeida took to Twitter to express his dismay over the gag order against him. Almeida confirmed the development, tweeting: “I am told and have been informed and have been shown evidence that I am on the Exit Control List.”

On October 6, Almeida in his exclusive scoop for Dawn had quoted the civilian government asking military to act against terror as Pakistan was increasingly getting isolated on international forum. Pakistan government has thrice denied the story since.

The Foreign Office vehemently rejected the report and termed it “speculative”. On Monday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered authorities to take “stern action” against those responsible for publishing the “fabricated” story.

“Prime Minister took serious notice of the violation and directed that those responsible should be identified for stern action,” according to an official statement.

Almeida’s scoop came amidst a backdrop of heightened tension between India and Pakistan following the attack on an Indian army base in Uri on September 18 in which 19 soldiers were killed by Pakistan-backed terrorists from the Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit.