Pakistan minister Pervez Rasheed resigns for suspected role in leaking info to daily

October 30, 2016 4:30 pm

, who has been suspended as ’s information minister (photo by AFP)

A key Pakistani minister “has been directed to step down”​ for his suspected role in leaking government information to media that implicates the country’s powerful military in acts of extremism overseas.
Information Minister Pervez Rasheed resigned on Saturday at the direction of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office, which has said an inquiry will determine whether he is really to blame for leaking information to leading newspaper Dawn.
Rasheed is believed to have told Dawn that the military had been asked by civilian officials to stop supporting extremist militants abroad.
According to the report by Dawn, the civilian Pakistani government had told the military leadership during a high-level security meeting that the latter’s support for militants overseas had led to “a growing international isolation of Pakistan.”
Certain decisions had been made during the meeting to stop such sponsorship, according to the report.
Pakistan has long been denying support for militants abroad, and Sharif has denied the specific report by Dawn. He has also denounced it as a “breach of national security.”
His Saturday move to ask Rasheed to leave office, however, triggers speculation that at least some of the information in the story may be true.
“Evidence available so far points to a lapse on part of information minister, who has been directed to step down from office to enable holding of an independent and detailed inquiry,” the prime minister’s office said on Saturday.
It is not clear whether Rasheed, who has tendered his resignation, will be reinstated if proven not guilty in the inquiry.
The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency has long faced accusations of supporting extremist militants abroad.
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