Islamabad: Noted Dawn columnist Cyril Almeida, who has been barred from leaving the country following his report on a suspected rift between civilian and military leaderships, fears that Pakistan government may take further 'uglier actions' against him.
Expressing his concerns on Twitter on Wednesday, Cyril Almeida said that he is 'convinced' that the Pakistani establishment will do more to penalise him for reporting on country’s political and military leadership.
Here is what he said on Twitter.
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
Meanwhile, there has been a growing chorus of support for him internationally.
In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday the US was aware of reports of restrictions on Almeida's travel.
Amnesty International too denounced the move. Amnesty International called on the government to lift all restrictions on Almeida and said reporters in Pakistan should be able to work freely and without fear of retribution.
Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists also urged Pakistan to "immediately lift the travel ban" on Almeida.
Importantly, Cyril Almeida is under pressure from the Pakistan government to reveal his sources, which provided him valuable inputs for his explosive report.
The Dawn reporter has already been put on 'Exit Control List' - a system of border control maintained by the Pakistan government under an ordinance which allows it to bar people whose names appear on the list from leaving the country.
The development came nearly a week after he wrote a front-page story in the daily 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.
On October 6, Almeida, citing sources, reported in the widely-read daily that the civilian government has told the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan due to alleged support for militancy.
Pakistan government has categorically rejected the report and termed it "speculative".
On Monday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered authorities to take "stern action" against those responsible for publishing the "fabricated" story.
"Prime Minister took serious notice of the violation and directed that those responsible should be identified for stern action," according to an official statement.
Almeida's scoop came amidst a backdrop of heightened tension between India and Pakistan following the attack on an Indian Army base in Uri on September 18 in which 19 soldiers were killed by Pakistan-backed terrorists from the Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit.
On September 29, India carried out "surgical strikes" on seven terror launch pads across the LoC, and the Army said it had inflicted "significant casualties" on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan has denied the surgical strike by India but has claimed two of its soldiers were killed in alleged ceasefire violations along the LoC by Indian troops.