Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said on Thursday that the travel restrictions on journalist Cyril Almeida will be lifted once the probe into the placement of his name on the Exit Control List (ECT) is completed.
Almeida, a columnist and reporter for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn who had reported a rift between the civilian and military leaderships over the powerful ISI shielding terror groups like the Haqqani network and LeT, was put on the ECT on 11 October.
"The inquiry will end in three to four days and then everyone will be allowed to travel freely," Dawn quoted Nisar as saying.
The report also stated that the minister said that the news in the story by Almeida was false. "Who leaked this inaccurate news? It was published at the behest of someone, and that will be uncovered... they will be brought to justice. But how can that person be brought to justice, if we allow the journalist to leave the country?" the report further quoted him as saying.
The minister also said that the Pakistani government did not have any "other option but to put his name on the ECL".
On Wednesday, Almeida had tweeted that he fears the Pakistani government may be "planning to take further, uglier actions."
Am concerned, possibly convinced, more than 24hrs after the travel ban was imposed that govt is planning to take further, uglier actions.
— cyril almeida (@cyalm) October 11, 2016
The newspaper in a message issued by its editor on Tuesday had said 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."
It had also called the whole episode as "scape-goating the country's most respected newspaper in a malicious campaign" and asked the elected government and state institutions to "refrain from targeting the messenger".
Meanwhile, the US has expressed concern over the difficulties and dangers faced by journalists in Pakistan but refrained from commenting on the travel restrictions imposed on Almeida for reporting a rift between the civilian and military leaderships.
"I'm aware of the reports of restrictions on Mr (Cyril) Almeida's travel. I would refer you to the Government of Pakistan for information on that," State Department spokesman John Kirby had told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday.
"On press freedom, it's obviously an issue that we continue to raise regularly with the government of Pakistan, including our concerns about the difficulties and the dangers that journalists face there," he had said.
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Oct 14, 2016 10:02 am | Updated Date: Oct 14, 2016 07:00 pm