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Pak PM Nawaz Sharif sacks special adviser over security leak, Pak army 'rejects' move

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif his sacked his special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi. Photograph: (AFP)

PTI Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan Apr 29, 2017, 12.27 PM (IST)

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today sacked his special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi after an inquiry found him guilty of "leaking" vital information about a high-level security meet to a newspaper.

However, in an unusual move, Pakistan's army "rejected" Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's decision to sack his trusted aide saying his action is "incomplete".

"Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected," military spokesman Major Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted.

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The Pakistan prime minister had narrowly avoided being ousted after the country's top court this week directed a special team consisting of a judge and top military officers to investigate him and his family members accused of transferring assets in tax havens abroad which came to light as part of Panama Papers leaked by Wikileaks two years ago.

Fatemi considered to be a trusted aide of the prime minister is seen as a big setback for Nawaz Sharif already under pressure due to the Panama case verdict.

Sharif's approved an inquiry committee's recommendation to remove Fatemi from his post. The inquiry committee was set up last year to probe the controversy surrounding a controversial report by daily Dawn about a key meeting on national security.

Sharif also directed that the role of Dawn editor Zafar Abbas and reporter Cyril Almeida to be referred to All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) for necessary disciplinary action to be taken against them.

It said that the APNS, a representative body of print media, shall also be asked to develop a Code of Conduct for the print media especially when dealing with issues relating to the security of Pakistan and to ensure that stories on issues of national importance and security are published by abiding to basic journalistic and editorial norms.

Sharif also ordered action against Rao Tehsin Ali, Principal Information Officer of the Ministry of Information, under disciplinary rules for the charges based on findings in the report.

In October, a columnist for Dawn newspaper wrote a front-page story about a rift between civilian and military leaderships over militant groups that operate from Pakistan but engage in proxy war against India and Afghanistan.

The report had said that political leadership had accused army in the high-level meeting to stop creating hurdles in the way of crackdown on some militant entities.

The government denied its role but the army took a strong dislike to the story and relations between the army and the civil government deteriorated.

The PML-N government was forced to remove then information minister Pervaiz Rasheed but a probe was demanded by the army to fix responsibility. The report was submitted to the prime minister this week.

According to the inquiry report, Fatemi was primarily responsible for leaking the report of the key meeting, and Sharif took action against him.

(WION with PTI inputs)

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