Pak Army 'Rejects' Nawaz Sharif's Decision To Sack Aide Tariq Fatemi After News Leak

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Pak Army 'Rejects' Nawaz Sharif's Decision To Sack Aide Tariq Fatemi After News Leak

Nawaz Sharif sacked aide Tariq Fatemi after inquiry found him guilty of leaking information to media

Islamabad:  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today faced a crisis when Pakistan's powerful army rejected his move to sack top aide Tariq Fatemi and demanded full implementation of recommendations by a committee which probed a story on a rift between the army and the government.

The Sharif government was quick to go in damage control mode after confrontation with the army over a "notification" and announced that "real notification" to implement the recommendation of probe was yet to be issued. 

Difference came to fore between army and government after the military, in an unusual move, rejected the "notification" by the government to sack special foreign affairs assistant Mr Fatemi by Mr Sharif following the findings of a probe committee.

"Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected," army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said in terse statement on Twitter.

Minutes later, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in veiled criticism of the hasty reaction by the army said, "Twitter reactions were highly dangerous for the country."

"There are several issues of great importance and it's unfortunate that they are being dealt with through tweets. State institutions don't communicate with each other through tweets," Mr Khan said.

He asserted that no notification was issued as yet.

"What is being referred as notification by PM House is for the interior ministry which will issue a detailed proper notification to implement the recommendation of the probe. And I reiterate that no one would be spared and the findings will be implemented in letter and spirit," he said.

He, however, wondered why a storm was created when there was no basis for it.

"It was only a reference issued in lieu of the briefing given to the prime minister," the minister told reporters at a press conference in Karachi. He said the interior ministry would issue a notification in line with the recommendations of the inquiry board. 

His statement was believed to be an effort to deflect the criticism by experts and Opposition after the army rejected the letter by the Prime Minister to sack Mr Fatemi. 

Mr Khan also criticised the confessional recorded statement of former Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan issued by the army this week. "It is not only immoral but illegal to run such statements," he said.

Earlier, Mr Sharif approved the committee's recommendation to remove Fatemi after he was found guilty of "leaking" information to the media about a high-level security meet.

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 army took strong exception to the Dawn story and relations between army and the civil government deteriorated. 

The PML-N government was forced to remove then information minister Pervaiz Rasheed but a probe was also initiated at the demand of army to fix the responsibility. The report was submitted to the prime minister this week. 

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

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Analysts have termed the cropping of differences as detrimental to the civil-military relationship.

"The government should move fast to address the grievances of the army and fully implement the findings of the report," former Air Marshal Shehzad Chaudhry told Geo TV.

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