Dawn Leaks: PML-N discuss ways to dispel army’s concerns

Lahore : The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday held a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif apparently to discuss a course of action following the army’s reaction to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s directives issued regarding the Dawn Leaks inquiry report.

The meeting was held at Sharif’s Jati Umra residence in Raiwind and was attended by his close aides including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shahbaz and Principal Secretary to PM Fawad Hasan were also present in the meeting that lasted more than two hours.

There was no official word about the meeting, but sources and media reports suggested that the meeting discussed the situation created in the aftermath of the ISPR tweet on the issue.

Citing sources, Dawn reported that Sharif has asked Dar and Nisar to engage the army and dispel its reservations regarding actions taken so far over the recommendations of the Dawn leaks inquiry committee while Shahbaz has been asked to assist them.

According to sources, military and civilian leaderships are likely to hold a meeting within the next 24 hours.

Nisar and Shahbaz are known to enjoy good rapport with the army and have met the then army chief General Raheel Sharif on a number of occasions to resolve differences between the two sides over certain issues.

However, Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz denied that any such task was assigned to anyone.

“All statements being attributed to PM on media after the consultative meeting are incorrect. No one has been assigned any task by the PM,” her tweet read.

The meeting reportedly also discussed various aspects of the proposed legal action against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan over his bribe allegations for backing off from the Panama Papers case.

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq called on Sharif immediately after the meeting to discuss the role of parliament with reference to the ongoing political crises in the country.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has urged the government to make public the inquiry committee’s report and also called for parliamentary debate on the matter to allay “doubts and misgivings”.

Nisar on Saturday said that the notification regarding the Dawn Leaks would be released by the Interior Ministry, which will be in line with the recommendations made by the inquiry committee.

He said the Interior Ministry was supposed to issue a formal notification in this regard and not the Prime Minister’s Office.

“It was only a reference issued in lieu of the briefing given to the Prime Minister. A notification on the matter is yet to be issued by the Interior Ministry,” The Express Tribune quoted Nisar, as saying, while referring to an executive order issued earlier today by the PMO.

In what seems to be an apparent reference to a tweet by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Nisar said it was unfortunate that tweets were being used by state institutions to handle key matters.

“I believe that these tweets are like poison for Pakistan’s democracy. It is unfortunate that we handle these matters through tweets,” he said.

Earlier, the Pakistan Army rejected the federal government’s notification on Dawn leaks inquiry, saying that it was incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board.

“Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected,” Director General, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted.

The tweet came minutes after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ( PML-N) government released a notification stating that Sharif had approved the recommendations of the Dawn Leaks inquiry committee.

Sharif also 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. (ANI)