Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida on Tuesday tweeted that he feared that his government would take "uglier action" against him, a day after he said he had been barred from leaving the country for a report he had written. On Tuesday, Almeida, a reporter for Dawn, had said that Islamabad had put him on its Exit Control List, after he wrote an article about the differences between Pakistan's government and the military on tackling militants in the country.
On Tuesday, United States of America's State Department Spokesperson John Kirby expressed Washington's concerns about press freedom in Pakistan, but stopped short of commenting on Almeida's case, PTI reported. Kirby said, "I'm aware of the reports of restrictions on Mr [Cyril] Almeida's travel. I would refer you to the government of Pakistan for information on that."
The Committee for the Protection of Journalists has called on Pakistan's government to lift the restrictions imposed on Almeida. Social media users have been expressing support for the Dawn journalist, using the hashtag #StandWithCyril.
The article in question 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 attack on an Army base in Uri, Kashmir, on September 18, relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated. India has accused Pakistan of harbouring the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group it has blamed for the attack, while Pakistan has denied the allegations. Both countries have taken each other on verbally at the United Nations.