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Pakistan journalist Cyril Almeida on exit control list: What does this prohibition mean

Cyril Almeida, a columnist and reporter for Dawn, has been barred from leaving Pakistan after he reported on a suspected rift between civilian and military leaderships.

He pointed out that his name has appeared on the exit control list via Twitter on Monday.

"Puzzled, saddened. Had no intention of going anywhere; this is my home. Pakistan," Almeida tweeted.

He had written a front page story for Dawn about a rift between Pakistan’s civilian and military leaderships over militant groups that operate from Pakistan but engage in war against India and Afghanistan, according to PTI.

As Pakistan minister Mohammad Barjees Tahir told Times Now, Almeida has "only" been asked not to leave the country. For the uninitiated, the Exit Control List is a system of border control maintained by the Government of Pakistan under the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance.

What's Exit Control List?

The Exit Control List is a system of border control maintained by the Government of Pakistan under the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance.

The Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981 was promulgated in General Zia’s era and was validated and saved to the constitutional amendments in the Constitution by then Parliament, reported The Express Tribune. It allows the government to bar people whose names appear on the list from leaving the country.

According to the ordinance, the Pakistani government may "prohibit any person or class of persons from proceeding from Pakistan to a destination outside Pakistan, notwithstanding the fact that such person is in possession of valid travel documents."

Before prohibiting a person, the government is not bound to afford an opportunity "of showing cause to the person against the order." The government may also withhold the reasons for the prohibition if it appears that "it will not be in the public interest."

Whoever tries to defy the order or move out of the country while being on the Exit Control List shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years.

Former President Pervez Musharraf was also included in the Exit Control List but his name was removed by the Supreme Court in March, 2016. He was allowed to travel abroad for medical reasons, reported Dawn.

Also read: Grounded Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida has Goan roots

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Updated Date: Oct 11, 2016 17:45:38 IST