A prominent journalist in Pakistan, who recently reported on an "unprecedented confrontation" in which the Nawaz Sharif government told the military to clamp down on terrorism or face global isolation, has been barred from leaving the country.
"I am told and have been informed and have been shown evidence that I am on the Exit Control List," Cyril Almedia, an editor with the leading Dawn newspaper, tweeted on Tuesday morning. "I feel sad tonight. This is my life, my country. What went wrong."
The Dawn report was published on 6 October, a week after India carried out surgical strikes on terror bases across the Line of Control in response to a terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir on September 18. The Pakistan government has twice refuted Almedia's report.
Promising "stern action" against those who published the report, the Pakistan government has said, "It had risked the vital state interests through inclusion of inaccurate and misleading content which had no relevance to actual discussion and facts."
The Guardian reported that Almeida was booked on a Tuesday morning flight to Dubai for a holiday with his family members, but he received word on Monday evening that he would not be allowed to board the plane."I am on the list – I have seen it and I have been told not to go to the airport," he told the newspaper.
Last week, Almedia had reported that the civilian government had delivered a "blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning" to the military leadership in a "hushed but surprised room."
In a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry foreign secretary told the country's top leaders, including ISI chief Lieutenant-General Rizwan Akhtar, that Pakistan faced diplomatic isolation and Islamabad's railing against India over Kashmir was not having any impact.
Sharif reportedly asked for the conclusion of the Pathankot attack investigation, restarting the Mumbai Attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi antiterrorism court, and for visible action to be taken against the Jaish-i-Mohammad terrorist group.
On Monday night, Dawn said that Almeida's story "was verified, cross-checked and fact-checked," and asked the government to "refrain from targeting the messenger, and scape-goating the country's most respected newspaper in a malicious campaign."
"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," the newspaper said in a Facebook post.
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