Pakistan

Name of English daily’s columnist to remain on ECL, says Nisar

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Thursday that the name of a prominent newspaper columnist would remain on the Exit Control List (ECL) until any further decision was made.

The federal minister met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today before his departure to Azerbaijan and gave him a detailed briefing on the status of an investigation in Cyril Almeida Case for writing a highly sensitive and controversial article on October 6.

“There is no question of removing his name from the list before the investigation is complete,” Nisar said.

During the meeting, the top government official also assured the prime minister that the inquiry into the case would be finalised before his return back to home after three days.

The columnist announced last on Tuesday that he had been placed on the ECL.

His report published on Thursday came at a time when claims of alleged surgical strikes by India in September were already in the air.

The report was denied three times by the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as completely baseless.

The ban “will  cause distress to all those, at home and abroad, who believe in the freedom of expression and the rights of journalists,” said the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a statement.

According to the minister, the name of the writer was placed on the ECL when he booked a flight to Dubai immediately after coming to know that an inquiry has been launched against him.

He added that anyone who was part of the case under investigation tried to flee the country would find his or her name on the ECL.

Meanwhile, the English paper itself has said it stood by the article.

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