Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, who has been forced out, apparently due to his role in “Dawn Leaks” has categorically rejected all allegations put against him by the Inquiry Committee.
Fatemi’s stand weakens Inquiry Report
Opposition, media and public at large view Enquiry Report with deep suspicions; it is widely believed that Fatemi and Rao Tehsin have been made “sacrificial lambs” to save the real culprits and to suppress the truth of the “Dawn Leaks”.
Fatemi’s categorical assertion that he is not responsible for what he is being alleged has further deepened the doubts about the overall integrity of the Inquiry Report, which is already considered compromised. Opposition, media, and public at large view Inquiry Report with deep suspicions; it is widely believed that Fatemi and Rao Tehsin have been made “sacrificial lambs” to save the real culprits and to suppress the truth of the “Dawn Leaks”. Rao Tehsin is already protesting that he has been wrongly accused of deeds he has not done and is saying that he will go to court. Govt is also refusing to make the report public; its latest position is that only “operative part” of the report will be made public.
Tariq Fatemi sb does well to publicly reject allegations levied against him in the DawnLeaks Inquiry report. https://t.co/bTE7YI0aqr
— Nasim Zehra (@NasimZehra) May 2, 2017
In a well written and articulated farewell letter to Pakistan Foreign Office (whose copies have been leaked to media), Fatemi said: “I reject recent allegations, insinuations, and innuendos.”
Further saying, “Such suggestions are particularly hurtful to someone who has served Pakistan for nearly five decades with honor and dignity.”
“Over the years, I have had to deal with many sensitive matters, becoming privy to some of the most highly classified information, on issues of national security.”
– Tariq Fatemi
Tariq Fatemi’s response came after the Prime Minister’s decision on Saturday. Nawaz Sharif, based on the recommendations of the Justice Amir Raza Committee had issued a directive for Tariq Fatemi’s removal as his special assistant. Earlier it was believed that Fatemi will resign, accepting responsibility for his role. However these hopes, if any within the government circles, collapsed after Fatemi’s meeting with the PM last week and it became clear that he was not willing to accept any responsibility for the infamous Dawn Leaks.
PM’s Directive against Tariq Fatemi
Nawaz government gets support and sympathy of western countries, international media, development and donor community by presenting itself as a democratic set up under challenge by its military. If optics of civil-military tensions grow, it may also benefit Nawaz Govt in Panama JIT, where supreme court has made army officers part of the Joint Investigative Team.
On Saturday PM’s Office issued a letter, in the form of a Notification or Directive to Ministries of Interior and Establishment; it recommended action against Tariq Fatemi (SAPM) and PIO, Rao Tehsin. However, on the same day, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) rejected the PM office’s notification by calling it ‘incomplete’. The military spokesman clarified that Notification was not in line with the recommendations of the Committee.
“Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected.”
Read more: ISPR bombshell rocks PML-N establishment
In his letter to the Foreign Office, Fatemi asserted that he had been privy to sensitive and classified information all his life, including matters of national security. Life as a diplomat had made due care and caution the second nature. Those who know have interacted with him in media and civil society have also been surprised by the nature of accusations against him.
Knowing Fatemi as the serious,disciplined diplomat it’s hard to believe that he took the initiative to leak to Dawn pic.twitter.com/YttqFzrUMc
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) April 25, 2017
In his letter, Fatemi said, “Over the years, I have had to deal with many sensitive matters, becoming privy to some of the most highly classified information, on issues of national security.”
Initially, the PM’s office had rejected this story, however, the military put pressure on the government, demanding an investigation into the matter to find those involved in disclosing the ‘matters discussed’ in the meeting.
And saying that, “I have also had the honor of working directly with distinguished diplomats, both professional as well as political appointees, all of whom reposed their highest trust in my abilities and particularly so, in my lifelong commitment to discretion. You would appreciate that taking due care and caution become a second nature in our professional careers.”
Rao Teshsin, the Ex-Princpal Information Officer (PIO) has, according to some media reports, already decided to go to court challenging his suspension. But legal experts point out that under E & D Rules 1973 (Efficiency & Discipline Rules of Civil Service) he cannot go to court against his suspension or transfer and he is merely posturing.
Immediately after the Dawn Leaks story emerged on 6th October 2016, the government claimed that it was all fabricated and what was reported never happened inside the meeting. However, in an Editor’s note, published on October 11, 2016, Dawn had clarified its position and stated on the record that the story “was verified, cross-checked and fact-checked.”
Why not ask Dawn to reveal who leaked?
The mounting of public and media pressure led to the sacking of Information Minister, Pervaiz Rasheed, in the last week of October, but the government claimed that Rasheed’s failure was that he could not stop the story from being published. To this day, it is not known, and the Inquiry Report has not been able to explain that who did the leaks; who was the one who gave the story to Dawn reporter. While Nawaz Govt says that the story was all fabricated but it is also not willing to put pressure upon Dawn newspapers to reveal its sources. Dawn maintains that story was factual, accurate and was cross-checked.
Civil-Military Tensions help Nawaz Govt?
Given the contours of the way this matter is being dealt, is giving credence to the media speculations that Nawaz government deliberately wants impressions of civil-military tensions to grow to divert attention from what actually hurts: Panama Corruption Case. Nawaz government gets support and sympathy of western countries, international media, development and donor community by presenting itself as a democratic set up under challenge by its military. If optics of civil-military tensions grow, it may also benefit Nawaz Govt in Panama JIT, where the supreme court has made army officers part of the Joint Investigative Team. Given specter of civil-military tensions, Army officers will be easily shown as biased against the Nawaz Govt. Many therefore wonder if the inclusion of Army in the Panama JIT only helps to bail out Nawaz Sharif from a very difficult situation.