The Commonwealth Journalists Association has urged the Government of Pakistan to lift immediately any travel ban it may have imposed on the assistant Editor of the Karachi-based daily, Dawn.
Mr Almeida was notified in October that he’d been placed on an `exit control list’ which prevents him from leaving Pakistan, following publication of a news story he wrote highlighting differences which arose during a meeting between Pakistan’s civilian leadership and senior members of the armed forces. In its appeal, the CJA said Pakistan’s press has been working under extremely difficult circumstances but had shown high standards of professionalism and fierce independence.
The highly respected Editor of the Dawn newspaper, Zafar Abbas, has responded to a state denial of the news story. He said in an editorial that “Dawn would like to clarify and state on the record several things. First, this newspaper considers it a sacred oath to its readers to pursue its reporting fairly, independently and, above all, accurately. The story that has been rejected by the Prime Minister’s Office as a fabrication was verified, cross-checked and fact-checked.”
The CJA International Executive has stated that the Government of Pakistan should in the interest of press freedom, which the Commonwealth has long striven to promote, remove any restriction which it may have placed on Mr Almedia.