Report about Dawn leaks cannot be made public, IHC told

  • After issuance of the charge-sheet and commencement of inquiry proceedings, Tehseen would be provided with a copy of 'Dawn Leaks' report: DAG
  • Rao tehseen had moved IHC after he was sacked from his office following the publication of a controversial story in October last year
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood Khan told the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday that the interim report regarding the ‘Dawn Leaks’ cannot be made public.

The comments were made during the hearing of a petition filed by former Principal Information Officer (PIO) Rao Tehsin who sought a copy of the inquiry report after which he was sacked from his post.

Mehmood Khan explained before the court that as per subsection C of Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2002, interim report or opinions were not public documents and, therefore, could not be disclosed.

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The lawyer quoted an earlier order of the IHC and said the high court had already observed that such documents may not be disclosed.

He argued that after issuance of the charge-sheet and commencement of inquiry proceedings, Mr Tehsin might be given all necessary documents to defend the allegations.

On Oct 6, 2016, the news report was published in Dawn headlined ‘Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military’. The story revealed that severe tension had been simmering between the civil-military pillars of state.

The federal government ordered a probe into the matter. Consequently, besides Mr Tehsin, the then information minister Pervez Rashid and the PM’s special assistant, Tariq Fatemi, lost their jobs after a committee gave out its findings.

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On May 3, a notification was issued by the Information and Broadcasting Division, stating that Tehseen had been relieved of his duties as the PIO.

The sacked official then moved Islamabad High Court seeking a copy of the report.

According to the petition, Tehseen did not know till today the findings of the inquiry committee or the reason behind the ‘harsh action’ taken against him that resulted in stigma and public humiliation for him and his family and affected his service career.

The counsel said that the petitioner also filed an application before the interior secretary, asking him for a copy of the inquiry report but got no response. Later, he added, two more applications were filed on May 2 and May 13, but to no avail.

The court after hearing the DAG adjourned the hearing till the second week of September.