Islamabad: A Dawn newspaper reporter who reported major differences between Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership has been barred from leaving the country, the daily reported on Tuesday.
After a third denial of the October 6 story by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Dawn said that staff writer Cyril Almeida had been put on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The ECL is a system of border control maintained by Islamabad. People on the list are prohibited from leaving Pakistan.
“I am told and have been informed and have been shown evidence that I am on the Exit Control List,” Almeida tweeted.
A statement from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Office said that the contents of the report were “a fabrication”. It was the third denial from the Prime Minister’s Office, Dawn said.
The Prime Minister’s Office contended that the report included “inaccurate and misleading contents which had no relevance to actual discussion and facts”.
Dawn said on Tuesday that it considered it a sacred oath to its readers to pursue its reporting fairly, independently and, above all, accurately.
“The story 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 (at) 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.”