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Pakistan court accepts petition to probe newsgate scandal

PTI
Published : Nov 11, 2016, 6:20 pm IST
Updated : Nov 12, 2016, 3:16 pm IST

A leading daily reported rift between the govt and the country's powerful army in the aftermath of India's surgical strikes on the LoC.

(Photo: AP)
 (Photo: AP)

A leading daily reported rift between the govt and the country's powerful army in the aftermath of India's surgical strikes on the LoC.

Lahore

: A Pakistani court on Friday accepted a petition seeking investigation by a judicial commission of the source, who leaked information on a reported rift between the government and the country's powerful army in the aftermath of India's surgical strikes on the LoC, to a leading daily.

Dismissing the objections on the petition filed by Pakistan Awami Tahreek, the Lahore High Court accepted it for regular hearing from November 14.

The petitioner has raised objections on Justice (R) Amer Raza, head of the seven-member committee appointed to investigate the 'Newsgate Scandal', saying he (Raza) has close association with Sharif and therefore his investigation will not be impartial.

He requested the court to dissolve this committee and constitute a judicial commission headed by a serving judge to investigate the security leaks matter.

Since the publication of the 'anti-military' story on October 6 'Civilians tell military, act against militants or face international isolation', there has been immense pressure on the Nawaz government to probe the matter and fix the responsibility as who leaked the sensitive information to Dawn's reporter Cyril Almeida.

Sharif has already sacked his information minister Pervaiz Rashid for "failing to stop the publication of the story" that appeared just days after India conducted surgical strikes across the LoC in September end, inflicting significant casualties on the Pakistani side.

According to the story, in the national security meeting Sharif directed the military that "fresh attempts be made to conclude the Pathankot investigation and restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court".

Besides, the military-led intelligence agencies will not interfere if law enforcement agencies act against militant groups like Jammat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad, the prime minister was quoted as saying. The military said Dawn's story was a breach of national security.

Meanwhile, the country's print media watchdog, the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) has asked the government's committee not to proceed against the newspaper (Dawn) or insist it to disclose its source.

The PCP said such matters fall within the council's jurisdiction and should have been brought before it in the event of any grievance, as envisaged in the PCP Ordinance, adding that it is "unfortunate that neither the government nor any of its departments has referred this matter to it".