On Monday, a senior Pakistani journalist, Cyril Almeida, was put on the country's Exit Control List, barring him from leaving the nation.
Almeida tweeted saying he was put on the list after he reported on differences between the Pakistan's civilian government and the military on tackling militants.
The article in question, which was published by Dawn, described an “extraordinary verbal confrontation” between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the director general of Pakistan's spy agency ISI, Rizwan Akhtar, during a recent meeting, where the civilian government told the military that Pakistan risks being isolated internationally unless it cracks down on militancy.
Following the news of Almeida being placed on the Exit Control List, Dawn posted an official statement on its Facebook page. It read:
"The story by Cyril Almeida "Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military" that has been rejected by Prime Minister’s Office as a fabrication was verified, cross-checked and fact-checked.
Second, 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.
Therefore, the elected government and state institutions should refrain from targeting the messenger, and scape-goating the country’s most respected newspaper in a malicious campaign.Therefore, the elected government and state institutions should refrain from targeting the messenger, and scape-goating the country’s most respected newspaper in a malicious campaign."
Following the travel ban, Almeida said he was distraught, tweeting: "I feel sad tonight. This is my life, my country. What went wrong." He also added, "Puzzled, saddened. Had no intention of going anywhere; this is my home. Pakistan."
Since Almeida's tweets, social media users have been expressing support for the Dawn journalist, using the hashtag #StandWithCyril.