Sharif approves removal of Adviser Tariq Fatemi over Dawn leaks

Islamabad [Pakistan], Apr 29 : Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday approved the recommendations of the Dawn leaks inquiry committee to remove Tariq Fatemi as Advisor on Foreign Affairs.

Fatemi was removed over his alleged role in the Dawn leaks controversy. "Allocation of portfolio of Foreign Affairs to Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, shall be withdrawn," ARY News quoted a letter from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), as saying.

According to a notification from the PMO, action will also be taken on the findings of the report against Rao Tehseen Ali, the Principal Information Officer at the Foreign Office.

The notification 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.

APNS has also been asked to develop a code of conduct for the print media, especially when dealing with issues relating to national security, and to ensure that stories are published by abiding to basic journalistic and editorial norms, the notification said.

The government had set up an inquiry committee headed by former Lahore High Court Judge Amir Raza with representatives of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Military Intelligence (MI) to probe the controversy surrounding a report by Dawn about a key meeting on national security.

The inquiry committee report held Fatemi primarily responsible for leaking minutes of the key meeting to the newspaper without due permission.

Interior Ministry Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan presented the final report of the inquiry committee to Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday.

The Dawn leaks report pertains to Dawn staffer Cyril Almeida's story 'Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military' published on October 6 last year, which came under fire as it was suggested that there was an alleged rift between the country's powerful military and the civilian government for its failure to act against the non-state actors.

The report described what transpired in a high-level meeting in which the civil leadership allegedly criticised the military's policies on militancy.

The government repeatedly rebutted the story as 'false and fabricated' while the military leadership went on to call it a 'breach of national security'.

The Pakistan Government also sacked Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid after preliminary investigations established a 'lapse' on his part vis-a-vis publication of the controversial story.

Source: ANI