Dawn Leaks-II: Nawaz Sharif finally tells who was behind Dawn Leaks

  • Chooses same journalist to take on the security agencies 

Iram Salim

  (Pak Destiny) Finally Nawaz Sharif himself has revealed who was bind the Dawn Leaks.

   In a interview he gave to Dawn’s Cyril Almeida in today’s Dawn, Nawaz Sharif openly declared that none else but it was his camp behind the Dawn Leaks-I in Oct 6, 2016.

Like in Dawn Leaks-I the Nawaz camp again chose its man in Dawn – Cyril Almeida – for the Dawn Leaks-II (May 12, 2018) in which Nawaz Sharif again took on the security agencies for their failure to take action against homegrown militant group. He also talked three parallel governments in country – one that of civilian, other military and third that of judiciary.

Read the contents of Oct 6 Dawn Leaks-I and May 12 Dawn Leaks-II both from the pen of Almeida it is very much clear who was talking off the record in the Dawn Leaks-I and who is speaking on the record in the Dawn Leak-II.

It seems Nawaz Sharif and his close aide Pervaiz Rashid have decided to openly tell the people that they were behind the Dawn Leak-I and they are not afraid to disclose this in Dawn Leaks-II.

Read both Dawn Leaks-I And Dawn Leaks-II decide by yourself

Dawn Leaks-I

By Cyril Almeida

Oct 6, 2016

ISLAMABAD: In a blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning, the civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state.

As a result of the most recent meeting, an undisclosed one on the day of the All Parties’ Conference on Monday, at least two sets of actions have been agreed.

First, ISI DG Gen Rizwan Akhtar, accompanied by National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua, is to travel to each of the four provinces with a message for provincial apex committees and ISI sector commanders.

The message: military-led Intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action. Gen Akhtar’s inter-provincial tour has begun with a visit to Lahore.

Second, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed that fresh attempts be made to conclude the Pathankot investigation and restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi antiterrorism court.

Those decisions, taken after an extraordinary verbal confrontation between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the ISI DG, appear to indicate a high-stakes new approach by the PML-N government.

The following account is based on conversations with Dawn of individuals present in the crucial meetings this week.

All declined to speak on the record and none of the attributed statements were confirmed by the individuals mentioned.

Foreign secretary’s presentation

On Monday, on the day of the All Parties’ Conference, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry gave a separate, exclusive presentation in the Prime Minister’s Office to a small group of civil and military officials.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Sharif and included senior cabinet and provincial officials. On the military side, ISI DG Rizwan Akhtar led the representatives.

The presentation by the foreign secretary summarised the results of the recent diplomatic outreach by Pakistan, the crux being that Pakistan faces diplomatic isolation and that the government’s talking points have been met with indifference in major world capitals.

Examine: What should determine Pakistan’s foreign policy?

On the US, Mr Chaudhry said that relations have deteriorated and will likely further deteriorate because of the American demand that action be taken against the Haqqani network. On India, Mr Chaudhry stated that the completion of the Pathankot investigation and some visible action against Jaish-i-Mohammad were the principal demands.

Then, to a hushed but surprised room, Mr Chaudhry suggested that while China has reiterated its support for Pakistan, it too has indicated a preference for a change in course by Pakistan. Specifically, while Chinese authorities have conveyed their willingness to keep putting on technical hold a UN ban on Jaish-i-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar, they have questioned the logic of doing so repeatedly.

Extraordinary exchange

The foreign secretary’s unexpectedly blunt conclusions triggered an astonishing and potentially ground-shifting exchange between the ISI DG and several civilian officials.

In response to Foreign Secretary Chaudhry’s conclusions, Gen Akhtar asked what steps could be taken to prevent the drift towards isolation. Mr Chaudhry’s reply was direct and emphatic: the principal international demands are for action against Masood Azhar and the Jaish-i-Mohmmad; Hafiz Saeed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba; and the Haqqani network.

To that, Gen Akhtar offered that the government should arrest whomever it deems necessary, though it is unclear whether he was referring to particular individuals or members of banned groups generally. At that point came the stunning and unexpectedly bold intervention by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Addressing Gen Akhtar, the younger Sharif complained that whenever action has been taken against certain groups by civilian authorities, the security establishment has worked behind the scenes to set the arrested free. Astounded onlookers describe a stunned room that was immediately aware of the extraordinary, unprecedented nature of the exchange.

To defuse tensions, Prime Minister Sharif himself addressed Gen Akhtar and said that policies pursued in the past were state policies and as such they were the collective responsibility of the state and that the ISI DG was not being accused of complicity in present-day events.

PM’s strategy?

Several eyewitnesses to the incredible events of Monday believe that the foreign secretary’s presentation and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s intervention were orchestrated by the prime minister to stir the military to action, leading to the decision to dispatch the ISI DG on an inter-provincial tour.

Yet, according to the accounts shared with Dawn, the sparring between the ISI DG and civilian officials did not degenerate into acrimony.

Earlier in the meeting, ISI DG Gen Akhtar stated that not only is it the military’s policy to not distinguish between militant groups, but that the military is committed to that policy prevailing. The ISI chief did mention concerns about the timing of action against several groups, citing the need to not be seen as buckling to Indian pressure or abandoning the Kashmiri people.

Gen Akhtar also readily agreed to tour the provinces at the direction of the prime minister, issue fresh orders to ISI sector commanders and meet with provincial apex committees to chalk out specific actions that need to be taken in various provinces.

According to several government officials, Monday’s confrontation was part of a high-stakes gamble by Prime Minister Sharif to try and forestall further diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. In separate meetings with the army chief, participants describe an animated and energised Mr Sharif, who has argued that Pakistan faces real isolation if policy adjustments are not made.

Government officials, however, are divided about whether Prime Minister Sharif’s gamble will pay off. According to one official, commenting on the ISI DG’s commitments, “This is what we prayed to hear all our lives. Let’s see if it happens.”

Another government official offered: “Wait till November to see if action will be taken. By then a lot of things will be settled.”

Military officials declined to comment.

Clarification:

The spok­es­­man for Prime Minister Office on Thursday denied a story appearing in Dawn on Oct 6 regarding “purported deliberations” of a meeting held on security issues. The spokesman termed contents of the story not only speculative but misleading and factually incorrect, describing it as an “amalgamation of fiction and fabrication”.

Dispelling the impression created by the report, headlined “Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military”, he said that intelligence agencies, particularly the ISI, are working in line with the state policy in the best interest of the nation, both at the federal and provincial levels to act against terrorists of all hue and colour without any discrimination. Indeed the Army’s and ISI’s role and contributions towards implementation of NAP have been proactive and unwavering, the spokesman said. Meanwhile, the office of the chief minister of Punjab also denied the comments attributed to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the news story.

Dismissing it as a baseless table story, he emphasised that besides his respect for the institution of the armed forces, on an individual level he also had the highest respect for the present ISI DG for his professionalism, commitment to duty and sincerity of purpose.

 

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2016

Dawn Leaks-II

By Cyril Almeida 

Published on May 12 2018

LAMBASTING the ongoing accountability process against himself and his family, former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has said: “You can’t run a country if you have two or three parallel governments. This has to stop. There can only be one government: the constitutional one.”

In a wide-ranging and exclusive interview with Dawn ahead of his rally in Multan on Friday, a relaxed but adamant Sharif dismissed the recent defections from the PML-N, particularly in southern Punjab. “They didn’t leave the party, they were taken away. Who took them away?” Mr Sharif asked.

“If there really was a mahaz (front), then why did it last only two days? Who forced them to immediately join PTI?” Mr Sharif continued.

The rally in Multan was his first visit to southern Punjab’s largest city since his ouster in last July and the former prime minister was keen to steer the interview back to his politics of grievance rather than discuss regional political dynamics.

He denied that the Jhelum rally earlier in the week signalled a possible slowdown in momentum or weakening of public support for him. “Perhaps it was a smaller ground, but it was packed to capacity,” said Mr Sharif. “It is a very popular slogan,” he said of ‘mujhe kyun nikala?’ and, added with evident satisfaction, “There is a lot of appreciation, a lot of recognition for it.”

Ex-PM denies a third ouster from the premiership represents a failed approach on his part, suggests he won’t do anything differently if returned to public office

The PML-N supreme leader also deflected questions about who will lead the party in the upcoming general elections campaign and whether his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, will be the prime ministerial candidate. Instead, he offered: “There is a lot of appreciation for Shahbaz Sharif. Look around this city and see how it’s totally transformed.”

The ex-premier was more animated and expansive while discussing his own record in office from 2013 to 2017, citing familiar road and electricity projects and higher economic growth. He repeatedly rejected criticism that his government failed to implement structural reforms, whether political, legal or economic, but finally said: “When there’s destabilisation from the first year, who can do reforms?” — a reference to the joint dharna of PTI and Tahirul Qadri in 2014.

Asked what he believes is the reason for his ouster from public office, Mr Sharif did not reply directly but steered the conversation towards foreign policy and national security. “We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it.”

He continued: “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” — a reference to the Mumbai attacks-related trials which have stalled in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable. This is exactly what we are struggling for. President Putin has said it. President Xi has said it,” Mr Sharif said. “We could have already been at seven per cent growth (in GDP), but we are not.”

He denied that a third ouster from the premiership represented a failed approach on his part and suggested he had no regrets nor would he have to do anything differently if he returned to public office. “The Constitution has to be supreme. There is no other way. Look, we put a dictator on trial; it had never been done before,” referring to retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Sharif also rejected speculation that he would consider a deal if offered to him, another stint in exile for avoiding a jail sentence, for example. “Why would I do it now after 66 appearances (before a NAB court)? We don’t even get an exemption,” to visit his wife, Kulsum Nawaz, who is undergoing cancer treatment in the UK. “It’s not easy to stay away.”

“Look, we have no other choice,” Mr Sharif said before leaving to address the Multan rally. “These games have gone on too long. Something has to change.”

But Mr Sharif’s sangfroid and confidence is not shared by others, including many in his party. After the completion of parliament’s term at the end of May, defections from the PML-N could accelerate, leaving him with a powerful electoral slogan, sympathetic voters, but few winning candidates and, ultimately, few seats in the next parliament.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2018

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