Pervaiz Rashid
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Moeed Pirzada |

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has been sacked from his position after a preliminary investigative report indicating his role in the ‘Dawn Planted Story’ of October 6th. It has been reported that an investigation jointly conducted by IB, MI and ISI will continue to expose all others involved in this conspiracy. Minister and the others may then face charges under the Official Secrets Act.

However the sources within government agencies and most in electronic media who talked to their multiple sources were adamant that Information Minister did not resign but was sacked and that he is all set to face charges under the Official Secrets Act.

However Pakistan’s English language papers like Dawn and Express Tribune stories created the impression as if Information Minister, Pervaiz Rashid had ‘resigned’. See Dawn story here: Minister Pervaiz Rashid asked to step down amid Dawn story. Tribune Story was even more unequivocal in using the term ‘resignation’. Information Minister Steps Down after being named in the “Dawn Leak” However the sources within government agencies and most in electronic media who talked to their multiple sources were adamant that Information Minister did not resign but was sacked and that he is all set to face charges under the Official Secrets Act. Prime Minister’s Office however instead that Minister had merely done an error in talking to the reporter who was trying to confirm the story, and will remain suspended till the matter is fully investigated.

Earlier sources close to the Prime Minister were hinting that while the investigative report was submitted by Intelligence Agencies several days ago but PM Nawaz was resistant in sacrificing any of his cabinet members. Speculations remained rife that ‘deliberately planted story’ was fabricated with Prime Minister’s approval and in accordance with his desires so punishing anyone is out of question. The change of heart apparently came in view of the mounting street tensions with PTI on ‘Panama Scandal’ and the meeting of CM Punjab – along with Interior and Finance Ministers – with COAS and DG ISI on 28th October.

Read more: Corps Commanders Conference discussed “Dawn Leaks”: Importance?

Media analysts assume that this is Nawaz government’s attempt to bridge its differences with the military establishment at a time when it faces severe political challenge on streets from PTI and Imran Khan. While Imran Khan and most PTI leadership remain incarcerated in Banigala in a bizarre police operation, PTI crowds are slowly trickling into Islamabad and as of now a show down with government machinery looks inevitable. In a classic ‘under-seige mentality’ government has blocked all roads entering Punjab from the province of KPK.

Read more: Nawaz, Modi, Dawn & Pakistan Army: What Is Happening & Why?

Dr. Tahir ul Qadri, leader of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) has declared the sacking of Information Minister as a cosmetic measure, designed to fool the Military, media and public. He pointed out that after the Model town massacre in 2014, Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah was made to resign temporarily and he was soon back. Similar was the case of Senator Mushahid Ullah who was made to resign and is now – according to sources close to the PM House – being considered to replace Pervaiz Rashid as the  new Information Minister.

They think that ‘Conspiracy against the Army’ and the country’s national security is something far bigger even than the corruption as exposed by Panama Papers. If the ‘Ex-Serviceman Organizations’ and “Martyrs families’ in fact appeared on streets demonstrating for speedy investigation and trials then it will only multiply the political pressures on Nawaz government.

In view of these concerns, Ex-military officers vocal on social media are now demanding that Ex-servicemen organizations and families of the martyrs must step forward and demonstrate on streets for a fuller inquiry into what they consider was a planned sinister conspiracy against the country and Armed Forces at a time when India and Pakistan were almost in a state of war. India had used the pretext of ‘Uri Attack’ to claim surgical strikes and the actions of all those who conspired to plant a story in Dawn supporting Indian arguments were deliberately ‘aiding the enemy’. They think that ‘Conspiracy against the Army’ and the country’s national security is something far bigger even than the corruption as exposed by Panama Papers. If the ‘Ex-Serviceman Organizations’ and “Martyrs families’ in fact appeared on streets demonstrating for speedy investigation and trials then it will only multiply the political pressures on Nawaz government.

 

Moeed Pirzada is prominent TV Anchor & commentator; he studied international relations at Columbia Univ, New York and law at London School of Economics. Twitter: MoeedNj. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Moeed Hasan Pirzada is a Pakistani political commentator, geostrategic analyst, and a television news journalist. He is an anchor at Dunya News and hosts TV programs. He has interviewed many politicians around the world. Moeed Hassan Pirzada has also been a Director World Affairs and Content Head of PTV News and hosted the famous talk show Sochta Pakistan, a program that discussed national, regional, strategic, social and educational issues with politicians, analysts and policy makers. He has worked with Dunya News-TV channel as a Director World Affairs and hosted the current affairs talk show Dunya Today. He has written for Dubai-based regional paper Khaleej Times. His columns have appeared in major Pakistani papers such as Dawn, The News International, Daily Times, Friday Times and blogs. He has attended national and international conferences, seminars and policy workshops and had been a member of the Prime Minister's Education Task Force that collaborated with the British Council to produce the Next Generation Report. He has contributed policy papers to Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and also written several policy pieces for Pique Magazine. He is an Executive Director of Governance & Policy Advisors (GAPA) that provides consultancy services to the government institutions, development organizations and corporate bodies on issues related to media, governance, health policy, and regional peace.

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