The Fate Of A Journo
Cyril Almeida – who serves as the Assistant Editor and Columnist for the Dawn daily – had triggered a controversy in Pakistan a couple of years ago when he published a report on the policy of Nawaz Sharif government to tackle terrorism and the tension between the former PM and the armed forces over this particular issue. Since then, he has been subject to the ire of the most powerful Pak Army. Recently, the Lahore High Court issued a non-bailable warrant against Cyril for allegedly leaking secret and sensitive information on Pakistan. The Pakistani Human Rights Commission has described the Lahore High Court’s directive as an attack on civil liberties.
The journalist met ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif just two months before the July 25 Parliamentary Polls. During their meeting, Sharif reportedly told Cyril that the Pak Army was trying to replace him with Imran Khan. Also, Sharif allegedly claimed that those involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in India were from Pakistan and the Pak Army was involved in the attack. Cyril filed the story on May 11, 2018.
Cyril & Sharif
Later, Amina Malik – a petitioner – moved the court, seeking action against Sharif for allegedly defaming state institutions. She claimed that the enemies could use Sharif’s anti-state statement against Pakistan. (In)directly, Cyril, too, got involved in the case.
The Lahore High Court has asked the Dawn journalist not to leave the country and to attend the court proceedings on October 8. According to sources close to the judiciary, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will also be present at the court on that day. Abbasi was the PM when Sharif met Cyril in Lahore. Many believe that the Army is playing an important role in this case.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
Immediately after becoming the PM, Imran Khan announced that his government would restore press freedom in Pakistan. Unfortunately, a journalist is under attack for performing his duties in Khan’s Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has issued a statement, saying: “Journalism is not a crime and is most certainly not treason.” The Commission also urged the court to withdraw the non-bailable warrants and to remove Cyril’s name from the ‘no-fly’ list.
It’s the right time for PM Khan to uphold and protect the dignity of a journalist and furthermore to allow him to work with a freehand.
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