Tensions rise as military rejects PM’s decision to sack assistant over leaks to “Dawn” newspaper.
Tensions between the Pakistani government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the powerful military soared on Saturday following a public rejection of the government findings of Dawn newspaper report probe by the military.
Earlier in the day the Prime Minister’s Office has issued direction for withdrawal of portfolio of Syed Tariq Fatemi, PM’s special assistant, besides proceedings against Principal information officer Rao Tehsin of the Ministry of Information following the Inquiry Committee’s recommendations over the Dawn report.
Pakistan's most trusted newspaper Dawn had published a story last year claiming that the government has told the military to act against militants or face international isolation. The report caused a friction between the government and the military prompting the government to set-up a probe committee. On Sunday the Prime Minister issued direction after approving the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee.
But military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor quickly took to the Twitter and tweeted :"Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with the recommendations by the Inquiry Board. The Notification is rejected."
The tweet caused storm in the country which has a long history of military takeovers, last being in 1999 when General Pervez Musharraf dismissed Nawaz Sharif government in a coup. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar in a press conference in Karachi criticised the military spokesman tweet and stated "Let me first say that I believe that tweets, sent out by whichever institution, are a deadly poison for Pakistan's democracy, system and justice." He also said that the institutions didn't need to address each other through tweets and that is very unfortunate.
The official notification said that the Prime Minister after having considered the findings of the committee as to its terms of reference, approved its recommendations in para 18 of the report. "The direction for issuance of a necessary notification to withdraw Fatemi’s portfolio was also made. Similarly, proceedings against Rao Tehsin Ali, PIO, would be conducted under the Rules on the charges based on the findings," the statement said.
The committee has also examined the role of daily Dawn/Zafar Abbas (Editor)/Cyril Almeida (Correspondent/Columnist) in the instant matter would be referred to All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) for necessary disciplinary action to be taken against them. "The APNS would be asked to develop a Code of Conduct for the print media, especially when dealing with the issues relating to security of Pakistan and to ensure that stories on the issues of national importance and security are published by abiding to the basic journalistic and editorial norms," it said.