ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi was removed from his position on Saturday due to his alleged role in Dawn leaks controversy.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved an inquiry committee’s recommendation to remove Fatemi from his post. Allocation of portfolio of Foreign Affairs to Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, shall be withdrawn. Necessary notification in this regard should be issued forthwith, a notice issued by Secretary to the Prime Minister Fawad Hasan said.
The government had set up the inquiry committee last year to probe the controversy surrounding a controversial report by daily Dawn about a key meeting on national security.
According to the inquiry committee report, Fatemi was primarily responsible for leaking the report of the key meeting to the newspaper without due permission.
PM Nawaz further directed that the role of Daily Dawn/ Mr Zafar Abbas/ Mr Cyril Almeida in the instant matter shall be referred to All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) for necessary disciplinary action to be taken against them, the notice read.
The APNS shall also be asked to develop a Code of Conduct for the print media especially when dealing with issues relating to security of Pakistan and to ensure that stories on issues of national importance and security are published by abiding to basic journalistic and editorial norms, the notice added.
The premier also approved the committee’s recommendation that Rao Tehsin Ali, Principal Information Officer of the Ministry of Information, shall be proceeded against under the E&D Rules 1973 on the charges based on findings in the instant report.
Further necessary action may be taken accordingly by the concerned Ministries and Divisions, the notice added.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Tuesday said it received the report, compiled by a committee that probed into the publication in Dawn. The report was then presented to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
In the controversial story attributed to unnamed sources, Cyril Almeida had reported that in a high-level meeting on national security held on October 3 last year, the civilian leaders had spoken about the ‘growing diplomatic isolation’ of Pakistan for lack of action against some militant groups. Reportedly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general was present in the meeting attended by a number of functionaries including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif.
The news report had whipped up a storm and while the federal government had repeatedly denied it as ‘fabricated and planted’, the top army brass had called it a breach of trust on national security.
Last year on November 7, the MoI notified a seven-member committee – headed by a retired judge Aamer Raza Khan – to probe the controversy. The panel was supposed to submit its report within next 30 days. However, later on it was given one-month extension by the ministry to complete its task.
One member each from the ISI, Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau were included in the panel. Establishment Secretary Tahir Shahbaz, Punjab’s Ombudsman Najam Saeed and the Federal Investigation Agency Director Usman Anwar were also part of the committee.
The committee was assigned the job to establish the identity of those who allegedly planted the story. Former information minister Pervaiz Rashid has already lost his portfolio on grounds that he failed to play his role effectively to restrain the journalist from running the controversial story.