Pakistan Army rejects Prime Minister notification on Dawn Leaks

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army on Saturday rejected the federal government’s notification on the Dawn Leaks inquiry, saying it is “incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board”.

The Army announced the rejection in a tweet sent out by DG ISPR Major-General Asif Ghafoor from his official account.

The tweet came shortly after the prime minister’s office announced that PM Nawaz Sharif had approved the recommendations of the Dawn Leak inquiry committee.

The order from the PM Office announced that it was withdrawing the portfolio of Foreign Affairs from Prime Minister Sharif’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi.

It added that Rao Tehsin Ali, the principal information officer at the Information Ministry, will be proceeded against under the E&D rules 1973 on the charges based on the report findings.

The PM’s order added that the role of the editor of Dawn Newspaper, Zaffar Abbas, and reporter Cyril Almeida would be referred to the All Pakistan Newspaper Association (APNS) for necessary disciplinary action to be taken against them.

The order also said that the APNS will be asked to develop a code of conduct for the media, “especially when dealing with issues relating to security of Pakistan and to ensure that stories on issues of national importance and security are published by abiding to basic journalistic and editorial norms”.

The English-language daily, Dawn, had published the story on October 6 in which journalist Cyril Almeida had written about an alleged civil-military rift during a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting over the issue of tackling jihadi outfits.

The story stirred a major controversy last year, resulting in Almeida coming under fire from the military and government and being temporarily placed on the Exit Control List. The inquiry committee which investigated the matter comprised one member each from the ISI, MI and IB, Secretary Establishment Tahir Shahbaz, Ombudsman Punjab Najam Saeed, and an FIA director.

Later that month, the Pakistan Army’s top commanders expressed serious concern over the “feeding of a false and fabricated story of an important security meeting”, terming it a breach of national security.

The government called it a ‘fabricated’ story and termed the “purported deliberations” during the security meeting as speculative, misleading, factually incorrect, and an “amalgamation of fiction and fabrication”.

Following a preliminary investigation, the government relieved Senator Pervaiz Rasheed of his responsibilities as federal minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage pending a high-level inquiry.

Subsequently, the government formed a committee headed by Justice (retd) Amir Raza Khan for an inquiry into the issue.

Earlier this month, DG ISPR Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor said the army, “like every Pakistani awaits a decision based on justice and merit” in the Dawn Leaks case.