Sacked information officer seeks Dawn Leaks report
PESHAWAR / ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the establishment division to submit a reply in connection with an application of the former principal information officer Rao Tehsin Ali Khan, who has sought a copy of the classified report on Dawn Leaks scandal and also the court’s help for his promotion.
Tehsin was among the officials who were sacked on April 29 in the wake of the investigation into publication of a controversial news story in the daily Dawn about a national security meeting.
The news report that appeared on Oct 6, 2016 claimed that in the meeting the civilian leadership of the country had warned the military that Pakistan could face international isolation if it did not stop supporting some militants groups.
The report had kicked up a storm in the country with the military leadership calling for an inquiry into the scandal. The government had repeatedly rejected the report as fabricated and planted and later set up an inquiry committee under Justice (retired) Amir Raza to look into the matter.
In the light of report, secretary to the PM on April 29 issued directions that “Rao Tehsin Ali Khan PIO of the ministry of information shall be proceeded against E&D rules 1973 on the charges based on findings in the instant report”. The establishment division later issued a notification relieving him from his duties and directing him to report.
Taking up Tehsin’s civil miscellaneous application on Wednesday, the IHC judge, Justice Aamer Farooq, directed the division to submit its reply on the application by September 14.
During the hearing, an establishment division’s official told the court that the division did not have the inquiry report and it was the interior ministry’s responsibility to submit a reply in Tehsin’s case.
Justice Farooq remarked that in case the departments tried to shift responsibilities on one another, the court would be compelled to summon all the relevant federal secretaries. Under the law, he added, inquiry report did not stop anyone from being considered for promotion.
The official informed the court that a federal secretary has recused himself from conducting disciplinary proceedings against Tehsin, adding that the establishment division has forwarded a summary to the prime minister for appointment of another officer as an inquiry officer.
His counsel Waseem Sajjad said very harsh action had been taken against the petitioner which had resulted in his public humiliation and removal from office of the PIO.
Sajjad said it is the right of the petitioner under the principles of natural justice and also under Article 19-A of the Constitution to be given a copy of the report. “Tehsin cannot avail any remedy against the action taken against him without getting a copy of the report,” he said.
The counsel requested the IHC to direct respondents to supply him with a copy of the inquiry report or submit it before the court so that he might avail legal remedy.
Tehsin had filed two civil miscellaneous applications. In the main petition, Tehsin approached the IHC seeking the inquiry report so that he might come to know the exact nature of accusations levelled against him so that he could avail legal remedies. He nominated as respondents the federation through secretary ministry of information, secretary interior and secretary to the PM.