Reporter of leading daily newspaper prohibited for leaving country for his story
Karachi (Oct 11): Cyril Almeida, reporter and columnist of “Dawn”, Pakistan’s leading English daily newspaper, was placed on “Exit Control List (ECL)” to prevent him from leaving the country, after publication of his story of a meeting between the top civil and military leadership of the country on international pressures on Pakistan to curb militant organisations.
The government action was taken on October 10, four days after his story “Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military” of a meeting in which ” blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning,” was given by the civilian government to the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan unless it acted against three militant groups. The story is available online at
Almeida said he had planned to go to Dubai on October 11 on a family vacation but was informed and “shown evidence” a day earlier that his name had been placed on the Exit Control List.
Earlier, the spokesman for Prime Minister Office denied the story as speculative, misleading, factually incorrect, and “amalgamation of fiction and fabrication”. Another statement by the office of the Prime Minister said participants of the meeting of top civilian and military leadership held on October 10, expressed concern over th “fabricated story”. The statement added that the Prime Minister “took serious notice of the violation and directed that those responsible should be identified for stern action”.
The newspaper however, stands by the story. In a statement, Zaffar Abbas, editor of “Dawn” said, story had been “verified, cross-checked and fact-checked”.
The action of preventing the Almeida from traveling has been widely condemned by journalists and media organisations throughout Pakistan. In a statement issued on October 11, Zia Shahid, President and Secretary General, Aijazul Haq of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have demanded the government withdraw its decision of putting the name of Dawn staffer Cyril Almeida on the Exit Control List (ECL), and termed that action as being against Paksitan’s constitution that guaranteed freedom of the press.