ISLAMABAD – The disqualification of PML-N’s chief Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister in the backdrop of a unanimous decision by a five-member bench of the supreme court has stirred another controversy regarding the ‘sacked’ Special Assistant to the PM Tariq Fatemi.
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A notification issued by the Joint Secretary to the Cabinet hours after Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification confirmed the discontinuation of services of PM’s advisors and special assistants.
But, what could create troubles for the already embattled ‘House of Sharif’ is the fact that Tariq Fatemi, who was sacked in the backdrop of Dawn Leaks controversy, a few months ago, was still serving as special assistant to the PM till July 28th.
Earlier, in April, in the light of recommendations put forth by the inquiry committee constituted after the controversial story published by Dawn News titled ‘Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military’ Tariq Fatemi was removed from his post of Special Assistant to the prime minister on foreign affairs.
A notification issued in this regard by the PM’s Office did not mention why action was ordered against Fatemi.
Additionally, the missive from the PM’s Office read that action should be taken against Rao Tehsin Ali, the principal information officer of the Ministry of Information “under the E&D Rules 1973” on charges levelled against him in the committee’s report.
Hours after the Prime Minister’s Office issued the directives, however, Inter-Services Public Relations said the Army had rejected the notification, calling it ‘incomplete’.
Director General ISPR Major Asif Ghafoor, who heads the military’s media arm, said in a tweet:
“Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected.”
The issue was settled between the civil-military pillars of the state however, Tariq Fatemi’s dismissal remained in place.
Despite multiple media reports that Fatemi relinquished his charge, the notification issued on Friday after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif confirmed that Fatemi was still serving in the same position, contrary to the stance taken by the government, that he was removed from the post.
The notification also riled PTI’s law maker Shireen Mazari who took to Twitter and chided the government for lying to the nation.
So the earlier firing of Fatemi was hogwash! Yet another lie told to the nation to sweep DawnLeaks under the carpet. pic.twitter.com/uZDFRcSO0z
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) July 29, 2017
The government has yet to respond to the allegations pertaining to Tariq Fatemi.
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 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.