A top Pakistan daily The Nation on Wednesday panned the country's civil government and military for failing to take action against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and Jama’at-ud-Da’wah leader Hafiz Saeed. In an editorial titled, “How to lose friends and alienate people”, the daily questioned the Pakistan government’s argument that acting against the two militant leaders would be a danger to national security, calling it a “nauseating mantra”.

The comments were part of the editorial’s criticism of the government for cracking down on Dawn reporter Cyril Almeida after he published an exclusive piece detailing an exchange between the civil authorities and the military. Of this, the paper said, “It is a disturbing day when civilian and military top leadership meet to lecture the media on how to do their job.”

It said that the authorities, by carrying out their “witch-hunt”, had confirmed Almeida’s assertion that the country was being isolated internationally. The editorial asked the government to “leave journalists alone” and to “worry a great deal about Pakistan’s image abroad”, saying some of the country’s “actions and inactions are indefensible”.

On Tuesday, Almeida, had said that Islamabad had barred him from leaving the country, after he wrote an article about the differences between Pakistan's government and the military on tackling militants in Pakistan. Almeida's article described an “extraordinary verbal confrontation” between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the director general of Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence, Rizwan Akhtar, during a recent meeting. Almeida wrote that the civilian government told the military that Pakistan risks being isolated internationally unless it cracks down on militancy.

India has been attempting to have Pakistan diplomatically isolated at international meets as it believes the JeM was behind the Uri and Pathankot this year and that the JuD carried out the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, among others. India believes that the banned outfits enjoy the implicit support of the Pakistan government.