Pakistan PM sacks Tariq Fatemi over Dawn Leaks Controversy

Fatemi was sacked over his alleged role in leaking information from a national security meet. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi was removed from his position on Saturday due to his alleged role in the Dawn leaks controversy.

Fatemi has allegedly been blamed for his role in leaking vital information from a national security meet to the Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper. The report alleged there was a confrontation between the civil and military leadership.

The directives came after an inquiry committee probed the story published by Dawn in 2016, submitted its findings along with their recommendations to Sharif on Wednesday, reported Geo TV.

A notification from the Pakistani PMO read charges against an officer from the Ministry of Information, “Rao Tehsin Ali, the principal information officer of the Ministry of Information, will be proceeded against under the E&D rules 1973 on the charges based on the report findings.”

Dawn published a story with the headline, ‘Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military' last year.

Written by the newspaper’s columnist Cyril Almeida, the story claimed that the Nawaz Sharif government had succeeded in getting the military to acknowledge the need to act against extremist groups employed in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

The PM's Office had initially rejected the story, but the military had mounted pressure to demand a probe into the matter to determine those involved in disclosing details of the meeting.

The government then formed a committee in November 2016 to probe the story. It initially led to the sacking of Pervaiz Rasheed as Pakistan’s Information Minister.

The notification from the PM’s office added that the role of the editor of Dawn Newspaper, Zaffar Abbas, and reporter Cyril Almeida will be referred to the All Pakistan Newspaper Association (APNS) for ‘necessary disciplinary action’.

It also said that the APNS will be asked to develop a code of conduct for the print media, especially for stories that deal with ‘issues of national importance and security’.

The committee, headed by Justice (retd) Aamir Raza Khan, included representatives of the Intelligence Bureau, the Military Intelligence and the Inter-Services Intelligence.