Govt to allay military’s concerns on Dawn Leaks
ISLAMABAD: The controversy sparked off by the Dawn Leaks notification refuses to die down. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday to map out specifications of another notification the government is expected to issue in a bid to defuse tension with the military establishment.
The meeting came a day after army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Premier Sharif where, according to sources, the issue of Dawn Leaks also came up for discussion.
Sharif and Nisar decided in their Friday’s meeting that the prime minister would approve the entire draft of the Dawn Leaks inquiry report after which the interior ministry would issue a detailed notification, The Express Tribune has learnt.
So far, Sharif has accorded approval to just one para i.e.18 of the entire inquiry report. He is also learnt to have instructed the interior minister to exercise ‘caution’ and ‘restraint’ while commenting on the issues concerning the security establishment.
The crucial meeting between Sharif and Nisar came against the backdrop of a tiff between the military establishment and the government. The tiff was caused by the issuance of an ‘incomplete’ notification on Dawn Leaks by the government last Saturday that the military had rejected immediately.
Official sources said the prime minister discussed with the interior minister the ‘hard-hitting’ statements the latter recently made about the security authorities – first in connection with the Dawn Leaks notification controversy and then on a Labour Day visit to the Pakistan Ordnance Factories in Wah Cantt.
The prime minister is learnt to have instructed the minister to act cautiously while commenting on crucial issues, avoid commenting on ‘sensitive’ subjects and take steps to defuse tension with the military authorities.
In the same connection, the two also discussed specifications of a notification likely to be issued by the interior ministry, detailing the steps taken by the government in connection with the Dawn Leaks inquiry report.
After the meeting, the prime minister and the interior minister issued separate statements, strongly condemning the targeting of FC men in Chaman by Afghan border police.
The government plan to go for damage control came in the wake of a meeting on Wednesday between Prime Minister Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Sources quoted Fazl as having advised Sharif to ‘tame’ hawks in his administration, like Nisar who had lately been targeting the security establishment. Sharif was also advised not to “open too many fronts” and to adopt a cautious approach towards the security establishment.
According to the sources, Fazl was of the view that confrontation with the security establishment alongside resurgent opposition from political forces as well as lawyers on the Panamagate would be detrimental to the political interests of the ruling party, the prime minister in particular.
Apparently in line with the advice, the prime minister decided to expedite progress on a pending notification over the Dawn Leaks “as per the wishes of the powers-that-be”. Sharif then called the interior minister for Friday’s meeting.