Lahore : Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed should have stopped the ‘false’ english newspaper report regarding a high-level security meeting from being published in national interest, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said. Rashid’s sacking came barely 48 hours after an unusual meeting of senior government functionaries with army chief General Raheel Sharif at the Army House. The government refuted the story published in English-language daily Dawn on October 6 as ‘false and fabricated’ not once, not twice but thrice. The repeated denials, however, failed to satisfy the military which called for unmasking those who had planted the story.
“Pervez Rashid should have told the journalist concerned that the story is incorrect, and should not be published in national interest… upon resistance he could have asked the editor of the newspaper, Zafar Abbas, not to run the story,” Nisar told reporters on Sunday.
Buckling under relentless pressure, the government on Saturday sent its information minister packing after preliminary investigations established a ‘lapse’ on his part.
He termed the events quoted in the story, i.e. a dispute between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the ISI chief on ‘non-state actors’, as absolutely baseless. “There has always been a consensus between the civil-military leadership on non-state actors,” he upheld.
Nisar said the decision to remove the information minister was taken after initial into the matter, with the army being taken into confidence. A complete inquiry is till pending, added the minister.
“A high power committee will probe leaks gate and those responsible will be exposed. No one should attempt to hide behind the right to information act and the right to protect sources to escape from being held responsible… This is a matter of national security,” Nisar said while suggesting Almeida will be questioned by the inquiry committee.