Pakistan lifts travel ban on journalist Almeida who angered Army
A leading Pakistani journalist who was banned from leaving the country after angered the all powerful army by revealing in a newspaper article its clandestine support of jihadi groups has been removed from the “exit control list”. However, Pakistani Army has taken this seriously and called this “leak” on Pakistan Army-Jehadi nexus as a “breach of national security”
The interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said he had agreed to remove the name of Cyril Almeida, a columnist and reporter for the Dawn newspaper, from the travel ban list as a “goodwill gesture” following a meeting with media representatives.
In a statement on Friday, the interior ministry said an ongoing leak inquiry would “continue to its logical conclusion”.
The government had endured days of criticism by the media and human rights groups after Almeida was told he would not be permitted to go on a long-planned family holiday to Dubai on Tuesday.
The travel ban followed his report of a highly unusual rebuke by Pakistan’s government of the country’s military for supporting jihadi groups.
Almeida’s name was put on the Exit Control List this week after he reported about a verbal clash between the military and the government over the spy agency’s support to militants.
The ECL is a border control system maintained by Pakistan government which allows it to bar people whose names appear on the list from leaving the country.
Pakistan Army expressed “serious concern” over the news leak after which Almeida was barred from leaving the country.
Dawn has maintained that its story was correct and “duly verified”.