Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose political future is mired in uncertainty in the wake of the Panama case verdict, on Saturday removed trusted aide Tariq Fatemi after a probe found him guilty of "leaking" information to the press about differences between Pakistan's civilian and military leaderships during a high-level security meet.
Fatemi held the post of Sharif's special assistant on foreign affairs. The Pakistan Prime Minister approved an inquiry panel's recommendation to sack him.
HERE IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Fatemi, 72, was believed to be Sharif's trusted aide. His sacking is a blow for the government of Sharif, who is already facing heat due to the Panama case judgment.
- The committee that recommended that Fatemi be sacked was headed by Justice (retd) Aamir Raza Khan and included representatives of the Intelligence Bureau, the Military Intelligence and the Inter-Services Investigation.
- The panel was set up last year to investigate the row surrounding a controversial report by daily Dawn about a key meeting on national security.
- In October, a Dawn newspaper columnist had written about a rift between Pakistan's civilian and military leaderships over militant groups that operate from the country but engage in a proxy war against India and Afghanistan.
- "In a blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning, the civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state", the report had said.
- It further said that "military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law-enforcement agencies act against militant groups that are banned or until now were considered off-limits for civilian action."
- The Pakistan Army took strong exception to the Dawn story and relations between the Army and the civil government soured.
- The PML-N government was forced to remove the then information minister Pervaiz Rasheed but a probe was also initiated at the demand of the army to fix responsibility. The report was submitted to the prime minister this week.
- According to the inquiry report, Fatemi was primarily responsible for leaking the report of the key meeting, and Sharif took action against him.
- "Allocation of portfolio of Foreign Affairs to Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, shall be withdrawn", according to a letter issued by the government.
- Sharif also directed that the role of Dawn editor Zafar Abbas and reporter Cyril Almeida shall be referred to the All Pakistan Newspapers' Society (APNS) for necessary disciplinary action to be taken against them, according to the letter.
- It said that the APNS, a representative body of print media, shall also be asked to develop a Code of Conduct for the print media, especially when dealing with issues relating to the security of Pakistan and to ensure that stories on issues of national importance and security are published by adhering to basic journalistic and editorial norms.
- Sharif also ordered action against Rao Tehsin Ali, Principal Information Officer of the Ministry of Information, under disciplinary rules for the charges based on findings in the report.
(WITH INPUTS FROM PTI)