ISLAMABAD – Information Minister Parvaiz Rashid has resigned from his position as Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, the ministry confirmed on Saturday.
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His removal is followed by a probe by security agencies into the leaked story published in Dawn that gave details of a top secret civil-military meeting earlier this month.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan was the quickest to ‘celebrate’ the news:
Mubarak to nation! 1 darbari sacked, the other flees & the rest start trembling as they look over their shoulders! NS’s darbar disappearing!
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 29, 2016
Rashid’s portfolio was taken away after a preliminary inquiry was launched by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. According to media reports, the premier has ordered a formal inquiry as to whether Rashid was involved in the leak from the meeting.
Cyril Almedia’s story, published on October 6, brought a storm in the media and political circles as it mentioned an alleged civilian and military rift during the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting over the issue of tackling militant outfits.
The story drew an outpour of criticism with the military stating that it was fed to the reporter and demanded investigations into it. It cost Almeida placement of his name on the Exit Control List for less than a week, before the government eventually lifted his travel ban.
On October 28, senior leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, the ISPR confirmed.
The military’s media wing said Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif met General Raheel Sharif at the Army House between 4:00PM and 5:30PM.
“The delegation briefed COAS on the progress of investigation and recommendations related to planted story of National Security breach of 6 Oct 2016,” said the statement.
The meeting was also attended by DG ISI Lt-General Rizwan Akhtar, said the ISPR.
Pervaiz Rashid was sworn in as Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting on 3 June 2013.
He joined PML-N and was elected member of the Senate in 1997 on PML-N party ticket. He was made Chairman Pakistan Television Corporation in 1997. He was arrested by the army after the 1999 Musharraf takeover and jailed for a long time.
Official reports suggest Rashid has been asked to stay away from the ministry until the probe of the leaked story published in DAWN is completed.
An inquiry committee, comprising senior officials of ISI, MI and IB, has been constituted which is probing how the story was leaked.