Sharif sacks special adviser over Dawn leak

Indo Asian News Service

Islamabad, April 29 (IANS) Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday approved the sacking of his Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi due to his alleged role in "leaking" to Dawn newspaper vital information from a National Security meet alleging a confrontation between the civil and military leadership.

A notification from the PM's Office said that "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".

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

On October 6, Dawn, Pakistan's oldest and most prestigious English daily, published a sensational story headlined: 'Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military'.

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 government had formed a committee in November last year to probe the story.

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 the details of the meeting.

It initially led to the sacking of Pervaiz Rasheed as 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.

--IANS

soni/bg