Withdrawal of ISPR tweet evokes considerable controversy

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Speculations suggest that there is some resentment within the rank and file of the army following the withdrawal of the April 29 tweet by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Asif Ghafoor from his official account “rejecting” the Prime Minister Office’s directives on the Dawn leaks.

It has been learnt that the army is legally empowered to arrest and try all suspects in the matter but it forfeited its legal right in favour of the Prime Minister’s Office after receiving the commitment that an impartial enquiry into the matter will be held.

The military considers the earlier notification from the Prime Minister Office as a leak meant to gauge the army’s reaction, the source said. The notification released on May 10 differed from the earlier one issued by the PM’s Office on 29 April in the addition of only one sentence: “Due to reasons referred to in previous sections, the action already taken by the federal government against Senator Pervaiz Rashid is endorsed”.

In a press conference DG ISPR stated that the April 29 tweet was not aimed at any government office or person and “recommendations as contained in Para 18 of the Inquiry Committee Report, duly approved by the Prime Minister, have been implemented, which has settled the Dawn leaks issue.” While addressing soldiers in Quetta on May 11, Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa reportedly said the decision to withdraw the tweet was difficult, not popular but its rationale would be understood later.

Defence analyst who requested anonymity recalled General Kayani’s decision to proceed against former Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani in the Memogate scandal which, he claimed proved to be a wise decision later. He likened Memogate to Dawn leaks and argued that the objective of DG ISPR’s tweet was to suggest that the entire enquiry report be made public. General Secretary Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association, Brigadier Syed Masud ul Hassan (Retd) said Dawn leaks was a matter of prestige for the Pakistan Army. Whatsoever the differences between the military and civilian leadership with respect to Dawn leaks it should have not been publicised.-Business Recorder

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