he failed to stop a reporter of an English daily from going:Nisar

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Sunday said that Senator Pervaiz Rasheed was sacked because he failed to stop a reporter of an English daily from going ahead with a ‘planted’ story when the reporter approached him for comments before publication.

Addressing a press conference, the minister said then information minister should have asked the correspondent not to publish such a news story, or he should have asked the editor or owners of the newspaper not to run the story.

He rejected the information given in the news story and said no meeting on national security had taken place on October 3, as reported by the newspaper. He said that being a senior cabinet member, he had been tasked by the premier to hold an initial enquiry into the matter. During initial investigations, he said, it was found that the news was false and leaked without keeping in mind national interest. He also found a lapse on part of Pervaiz Rasheed as information minister, and hence he was asked to step down for ensuring an independent enquiry, he added.

The interior minister explained the government’s position on the publication of the controversial news item and said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wanted to take the matter to its logical conclusion. He said that the ‘mischievous mind’ behind the anti-national interest and fabricated news item would be exposed before the nation. Nisar said both the civil and military leadership had consensus to expose the responsible in the matter before the nation because it was compromising the national narrative on non-state actors. He said there had always been consensus between the civil and military leadership to indiscriminately act against non-state actors.

The minister said that in a national security meeting on October 4, the foreign secretary talked about realignment of Pakistan in the region, and the newspaper’s statement quoting him (foreign secretary) as having stated that Pakistan was being isolated in the world “was totally wrong”.

He termed the event quoted in the story – a dispute between the Punjab chief minister and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief over action against non-state actors – absolutely baseless.

Baseless things were being dramatised in the media, which was no service to the country, he added.

Nisar said a high-powered committee had been constituted to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the matter to identity those responsible and bring forth their designs. More members would be added to the committee in consultation with the prime minister, he added.

The minister said he had been assured by representatives of Dawn that Almeida, who had gone abroad, would be available for questioning. “Else, the law will take its course,” he added.

With regard to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) planned protest in Islamabad on November 2,

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