Pakistan's Top Diplomat Fatemi Under Pressure to Resign for Alleged Media 'Leak'
TORONTO: Pakistan’s top diplomat Tariq Fatemi is under tremendous pressure to resign from the media and the establishment over a story leak in Dawn on October 6 in which the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief was told by Fatemi that unless Pakistan breaks away from its pro-Jihadi policies around the world it would continue to get more and more isolated. Fatemi is currently serving as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs.
Soon after the story was carried by Pakistan’s leading English broadsheet – Dawn – reporter Cyril Almeida who has Goan roots, had to take refuge in Islamabad while the military agencies tracked him. His name was immediately put on the dreaded Exit Control List, meaning he could not leave the country. A committee was formed to probe the leak which according to Corps Commander Conference – the country’s highest decision making body – breached the national security.
At the same time Inter-Services Public Relations – the media arm of military issued a statement that the story was fabricated and figment of imagination. However the ISPR failed to explain that if the story was not factual how then it breached the national security and then what the investigation team that comprised the ISI and MI representatives among others, was looking into. Reporter Almeida was finally let off the hook and allowed to fly abroad from where he has not returned so far.
However, the media made Pakistan’s Information Minister Pervez Rashid the scapegoat and blamed him for the leak day in day out. The poor minister had to resign for ‘failing to stop the publication of the story.’ Now, after Rashid, Tariq Fatemi’s neck is on the line. The report of the committee probing the leak was leaked to the Press yesterday and in which it was recommended that Fatemi must go. Fatemi has resisted so far and said he would not resign,
Fatemi has been Pakistan’s envoy to Washington and is a favourite target of media for the alleged activities of his wife who runs an NGO in Islamabad. Fatemi has denied having leaked the story and has decided to fight it out but the rumours are all over the place that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was about to ask for his resignation.
What is absent from this entire circus is what was said and whether it was true or not. Even a third grader would tell you that Pakistan was getting more and more isolated because it refuses to end the play of good Taliban and bad Taliban and still adamant to use Jihadis as proxies despite launching all the operations against the terrorists in tribal areas and plains of Punjab too. The crime, it seems, was not what was said but to whom it was said.