Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid Saturday stepped down from his position, prompting the government to claim that it had made “significant progress” in the ongoing investigation in the ‘planted’ news which was defined by the military as a breach of national security.
A senior military officer told Business Recorder on condition of anonymity that the military does not require ‘temporary resignations’ but wants to investigate the matter thoroughly and punish those responsible as per Official Secret Act, 1923. “A political gimmick won’t satisfy us and we consider the matter of high significance to our national security,” the military officer added.
Another senior military officer stated that the army wants a logical conclusion to the inquiry and to fix responsibility on those who planted the highly sensitive content in an English daily. He said that the matter was also discussed in a recent Corp Commanders’ Conference and was one of the agenda items of the conference. “The response of the Corp Commander Conference was institutional. General Raheel Sharif represents the institution; he is not a politician who retires with his agenda, therefore, the matter will be pursued just as seriously irrespective of whether General Raheel Sharif continues as CoAS or not,” the military official added.
A press release from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that “The planted story related to the NSC [National Security Council] and NAP [National Action Plan] meetings published in Daily Dawn on 6th October was a breach of national security. Evidence available so far points to a lapse on part of Information Minister, who has been directed to step down from office to enable holding of an independent and detailed inquiry”, said an official handout.
“An inquiry committee including senior officers of ISI, MI and IB is being formed by the government to clearly apportion blame, identity interests and motives, and expose all those responsible for this episode for stern action in the national interest,” it added. Musaddiq Malik, spokesperson for the PM House, stated that in light of the investigation so far into the leaked news, it was decided that Pervaiz Rashid should step down as he was responsible for the affairs of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
He said that Pervaiz Rashid was temporarily suspended from his slot until investigations are concluded. He claimed that significant progress has been made in the investigation into the issue of the planted news relating to a high-level meeting of the civilian and military leadership on October 6. The Interior Minister is scheduled to hold a press conference on the matter on 30 October (today), stated Musaddaq Malik.