ISLAMABAD – Former information minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Wednesday that he had informed the journalist, Cyril Almeida of the actual situation, as much as he could and gave his own point of view on the matter too, but “he – Cyril – had already made up his mind”.
He said he fulfilled his responsibilities in the Dawn Leaks issue within the ambit of the constitution. “On the Dawn Leaks issue, I did what is done in a democratic society,” he said.
Talking to Geo News after a ceremony held here to mark the International Day for Journalists, Rashid said, “Rejection of news on my part would have not changed his point of view in any way.”
Commenting on the criticism he faced for not having done enough to stop the news from being published, Rashid said that if the state wants an information minister whose job is to stop news from publishing then universities should start offering a “How to block news” course.
Pakistan’s English-language daily, Dawn, had published a story on October 6 in which journalist Cyril Almeida had written about an alleged civil-military rift during the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting over the issue of tackling militant outfits.
The story stirred a major controversy last year, resulting in Almeida coming under fire from the military and government and being temporarily placed on the Exit Control List.
The Dawn story quoting official sources said that the civilian government and military were not on the same page regarding actions against some specific militant groups and there was heated exchange of words between Punjab CM Shehbaz and ISI chief during a national security meeting.
Pakistan army had dismissed the story as “unfounded and planted” and called for a probe into the leak.
Prime Minister Office and Punjab Chief Minister also rejected the report headlined “Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military” published in the newspaper.