A prominent Pakistani journalist claims the government prohibited him from exiting the county after he wrote an article illuminating a potential schism between military and government leaders. The article claiming that Pakistan’s top spy agency is protecting militants comes as India has accused Islamabad of backing terrorists, stroking global fears of a potential conflict between the two nuclear armed nations.
Cyral Almeida, who reports for the English-language Dawn newspaper in Karachi, was scheduled to travel to Dubai Tuesday, but said Monday evening he was not allowed on the plane. “I am told and have been informed and have been shown evidence that I am on the Exit Control List,” Almeida posted on his Twitter page. The Exit Control List is a system of border control that allows the government to bar people whose name appears on the list from leaving Pakistan.
Almeida’s Oct. 6 article quoted anonymous sources who said they were present for a meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Rizwan Akhtar, the director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, in which, “the civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan.” The article says that the prime minister, Punjab’s chief minister and other members of the government voiced their concerns about a lack of military action against certain militant groups because of their connections to the ISI spy agency. The article states that representatives of the civilian government at the meeting warned that such militaristic behavior puts Pakistan at risk of international isolation and any subsequent economic consequences.