Pak journo barred from leaving country after report on national security

Rezaul H Laskar, New Delhi: A Pakistan journalist who reported on differences between the civilian government

and the powerful military on tackling terrorists was on Monday barred from travelling out of the country.
Cyril Almeida, a senior reporter with the influential Dawn newspaper, created a buzz in Pakistan and India by reporting on October 6 that the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had delivered a “blunt” warning to the powerful military that the country facing growing international isolation if it failed to tackle terror.
The government and the military rejected the report. The civilian government was so rattled by the report that it has issued three denials so far, including one that was issued on Monday after a meeting between the premier and Pakistan army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.
Soon after the latest government denial, Almeida tweeted that he had been shown evidence that he was on the “Exit Control List”, which includes names of people who are barred from leaving Pakistan.The government’s latest denial again referred to Almeida’s report as a “fabricated news story” on national security issues.
The denial issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said the civil and military leadership “were unanimous that the published story was clearly violative of universally acknowledged principles of reporting on national security issues and has risked the vital state interests through inclusion of inaccurate and misleading contents which had no relevance to actual discussion and facts”.
The civil and military leadership also said it was “imperative that print and electronic media refrained itself from speculative reporting and issues of national security and interests of the state”. The Prime Minister “took serious notice of the violation and directed that those responsible should be identified for stern action”, the statement added.However, Dawn’s editor said the report rejected by the Prime Minister’s Office “was verified, cross-checked and fact-checked”. He added that “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 editor said 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”.
Many Pakistanis and journalists from around the world took to Twitter to defend Almeida and #StandWithCyril was soon trending.