Journalist and columnist Cyril Almeida who currently serves as the Assistant News Editor to local English newspaper Dawn announced that he has “suspended writing the Sunday columns” for the paper.
He took to Twitter to make the announcement and said, “Some work news: suspending writing the Sunday column for Dawn. Thank you for the readership and affection over the years.”
Some work news: suspending writing the Sunday column for Dawn. Thank you for the readership and affection over the years. ???
— cyril almeida (@cyalm) January 19, 2019
On May 12, during the ongoing accountability process against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, Cyril interviewed Nawaz in which he had stated, “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?”
“We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it,” he added.
The government has strongly denied the report.
At that moment the prime minister office had rejected contents of the story as ‘speculative’ and ‘misleading’ as well as ‘factually incorrect’.
In another story published in October, the prominent journalist had claimed rifts between the country’s civilian and military leadership during a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting over the issue of tackling militant outfits.
The story stirred a major controversy resulting in the resignation of former information minister Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and Almeida coming under fire. An inquiry committee was formed to probe the matter and a report was compiled which placed blame on Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and PIO Rao Tehseen, the TV channel reported.
In response to the report, Nawaz had approved the recommendations of the inquiry committee, withdrawing the portfolio of Tariq Fatemi, according to an order of PM Office. It said that the case of the newspaper editor and the reporter were referred to the All Pakistan Newspaper Association (APNS) for necessary disciplinary action.
Reacting to the statement, the Pakistan Army had rejected the notification and said it was incomplete and not in line with the recommendations by the inquiry board. The army announced the rejection in a tweet sent out by the ISPR director general from his official account: “Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the inquiry board. Notification is rejected.”