Pakistan information minister removed over newspaper leak: PM's office

Posted October 30, 2016

In this photograph taken on June 1, 2015, Pakistan Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, left, steps down from the escalator during a visit to Metro Bus station in Islamabad.

The news comes weeks after a news report leaked in Dawn generated controversy, with analysts saying that it has caused a major rift in civil-military relations.

While the Prime Minister's Office denied the story, the army contended details of the crucial meeting between civilian and military leaders had been "leaked" and demanded a probe as it believed the leak amounted to a breach of national security.

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Government and diplomatic sources say the article soured relations between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ruling PML-N party and the military, with army officials blaming PML-N for the leak and demanding the source be punished.

The story quoting official sources said that civilian government and military were not on same page during national security meeting and that Pakistan was facing global isolation.

The sources added that the premier had accepted Rashid's resignation. Malik said, investigation into controversial story is in the final stage.

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The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and ISI chief and other officials. The head of ISI was also present.

Journalist Cyril Almeida's name was also placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) after the publication of the story but his name was later removed by the Interior Ministry as a "goodwill gesture".

Prime Minister Office and Punjab Chief Minister also rejected the report headlined "Act against militants or face global isolation, civilians tell military" published in Dawn on Oct 6.

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"Participants [of the Corps Commanders meeting] expressed serious concern over feeding of false and fabricated story of an important security meeting at the PM House, and viewed it as breach of the national security", the military's media wing ISPR said.