ISLAMABAD: After running from pillar to post to know the exact reasons behind his removal from the office, the former principal information officer (PIO) on Tuesday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the federal government to provide him with a copy of the Dawn Leaks inquiry report.
Rao Tehsin Ali Khan, through his counsel Wasim Sajjad, approached the IHC seeking the inquiry report so that he could know the exact nature of the accusations levelled against him and avail legal remedies.
The counsel stated that a very harsh action had been taken against the petitioner, resulting in his public humiliation and removal from the PIO office.
Sajjad said that it was the right of the petitioner under the principles of natural justice and Article 19-A of the Constitution to be given a copy of the report. He said that Tehsin could not avail any remedy against the action taken against him without getting a copy of the report.
He made federation of Pakistan, through secretaries of information ministry and interior ministry, and secretary to the prime minister, respondent in the case.
On October 6, 2016, the petition read, a story was published in daily Dawn with the heading ‘Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tells military’ by Cyril Almeida.
Almeida’s story had revealed that a meeting was held in the Prime Minister House of a small group of civil and military officials chaired by the prime minister and included senior cabinet ministers, and federal and provincial government officers.
In the report, Almeida said that the foreign secretary stated that China had reiterated its support for Pakistan but specifically conveyed a preference for change of course in Pakistan as there was international demand for action against jihadi elements and the failure to act against them was leading to isolation of Pakistan.
The counsel said that as the report dealt with a sensitive issue an inquiry was conducted to fix responsibility on the people who leaked the information.
Subsequently, an inquiry committee headed by Justice (retd) Amir Raza called the petitioner and asked him about his role in the matter. Before the committee, Sajjad said, the petitioner completely denied any role in this regard as he had neither attended the meeting nor was he informed about the outcome.
In light of the report prepared by the committee, secretary to the prime minister on April 29 issued directions that “Rao Tehsin Ali Khan PIO of the ministry of information shall be proceeded against (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 1973 on the charges based on findings in the instant report”.
Later, the Establishment Division issued a notification relieving the petitioner of his duties and directing him to report to the division.
On May 3, Sajjad said, a notification was issued by the Information and Broadcasting Division stating that the petitioner had been relieved of his duties as PIO.
He said that the petitioner does not know till today the findings of the inquiry committee or the reason behind the harsh action taken against him that resulted in a stigma and public humiliation for the petitioner, his family and also affected his service career.
The counsel said that the petitioner filed an application before the interior secretary requesting him to provide the petitioner a copy of the report on April 28, 2017, but got no response. Later, he said, two more applications were filed on May 2 and May 13, but to no avail.
Despite continuous efforts of the petitioner, the inquiry report had not been given to him. The counsel prayed the court to direct the respondents to supply him with a copy of the inquiry report or submit it before the court so that he could avail legal remedies.