After the Panama leaks show finally came to a close this week, with the Supreme Court announcing its decision to form a Joint Investigation Team, the Interior Ministry looks set to release the report regarding the “Dawn leaks” – the newspaper published a story detailing the events of a reported civil-military huddle which was widely rejected and called an issue of national security. The investigation team has finally concluded its findings, and the delay was reportedly caused by the matter of punishment of those implicated within.
The initial reaction was targeted against the reporter that wrote the story, but the investigation quickly moved on to someone within the circles of government who might have ‘leaked’ the information – which was quickly denounced as false. The claims that were seen as completely outrageous, and against national security were hardly so. Stating that those in government told the military to stop differentiating between terrorists might be insulting for the armed forces, but are not as detrimental to national security as the state would have us believe.
In any case, it seems that civil-military relations hung in the balance of the culmination of this investigation, which is why widely circulating reports indicate that the government is ready to offer up a pound of flesh. Tariq Fatemi is being seen as the source of this information leak, which might lead to his dismissal, however the Foreign Office rubbished these rumours as false on April 24. He would become the second casualty, as Pervaiz Rasheed was dismissed at the outset of this controversy.
Ultimately, the dismissal of one of the government’s own might actually end up appeasing the top brass, but it is a shame that something we should have active discussion on is hushed up and termed a matter of national security. A story that could potentially lead to increased debate on whether differentiating between various types of militants is healthy, and needs to be carried out in all state institutions. Singling out one of the strongest arms of the state is unwise, but does not mean that a massive witch-hunt should follow. It is clear who has the upper hand in this relationship.
The pictures of Nawaz and co celebrating their victory features Pervaiz Rasheed alongside, which tells us that even a dismissal from the inner circles of government does not necessarily entail an exile. Even if further sackings are to follow, the government’s close aides will retain their positions of power, and this saga is likely to have similar results as the Panama scandal, lots of smoke and mirrors without real substance.