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Govt to make public some parts of Dawn Leaks: Rana Sanaullah

02 May, 2017

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LAHORE: The government has decided to make public, through a notification to be issued by the interior ministry this week, the ‘operative part’ of the recommendations of an inquiry committee set up following a row about a report published in Dawn in October last year.

The government believes that the notification will put to rest all speculations about a civil-military spat in the wake of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor’s tweet rejecting the government’s notification on the matter.

“The interior ministry will issue a notification about the news leaks this week. This notification will carry the operative part of the recommendations of the committee,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters on Monday.

“There will not be any confusion or misunderstanding after the interior ministry’s notification. It will also put to rest all speculations about civil-military tension over the issue,” he said, adding that the ISPR DG’s tweet appeared to be based on some misunderstanding created after the directive issued from the Prime Minister’s Office was aired by the media.

“Interior Minister Chaud­hry Nisar Ali Khan had already made it clear that his ministry was to issue a notification but the directive (from the Prime Minister’s Office) created unnecessary confusion,” he said.

The minister said: “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already approved the committee’s report... He has also approved the Para 18 of the report that includes the operative part of the recommendations. The recommendations, which will be part of the notification, I believe, have been unanimously authored by the committee.

“Therefore, after the notification those predicting a ‘serious rift’ between the government and military will face disappointment.”

Mr Sanaullah was of the view that the government was enjoying ‘exemplary’ relations with the army. “Take any example like Raddul Fasaad... the army is totally focused on operations against militants and the government has excellent rapport with it on all such matters.”

According to sources in the ruling PML-N, the interior ministry is likely to issue the notification on Tuesday. “Since this controversy has already stretched over many days, the government wants to settle it on the first working day of this week,” they said.

The sources said the prime minister had discussed the matter, including the military’s reaction to his office’s directive, with his aides and decided to make public the operative part of the committee’s recommendations.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the interior minister, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shahbaz and the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad were present in the meeting at the Sharif family’s Jati Umra residence in Raiwind.

The government has been facing criticism from the opposition and other quarters since the directive (signed by Mr Fawad) was issued on Saturday, ordering the removal of Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and action against Rao Tehsin Ali, Principal Information Officer of the information ministry, under the Efficiency and Discipline Rules 1973 on the charges based on the findings in the report. Both Mr Fatemi and Mr Ali have subsequently been removed from their posts.

Mr Ali has announced that he will approach a court against his removal.

The tweet by the ISPR DG — “Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected” — put the government in an awkward situation.

Chaudhry Nisar expressed his displeasure over the move, saying that communication between the institutions should not be through tweets. “I believe that tweets, sent out by whosoever, are zehr-i-qatil (deadly poison) for Pakistan’s democracy, our system and justice,” the minister said.

The committee, headed by retired Justice Aamer Raza Khan, was constituted by the interior ministry in November to ascertain who had leaked information about a security meeting attended by top military and civilian officials.

Establishment Secretary Tahir Shahbaz, Punjab Ombudsman Najam Saeed, Federal Investigation Agency’s Punjab Director Dr Usman Anwar and a representative each from the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau were its members.

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