Pak army withdraws tweet, says Dawn leaks issue 'settled'

The Pakistan Army on Wednesday withdrew a controversial tweet that had rattled the government of Nawaz Sharif. The tweet was linked to a media leak about a rift between the two power centres - the civilian government and the military - over fighting militancy in the country.

 A front page story in the daily Dawn last October quoted government sources on a rift between Pakistan's civilian and military establishments over crackdown on Pakistan's terrorist groups active in India and Afghanistan.

The army had on 29 April in a tweet ''rejected'' a notification by the Sharif government stating that he had sacked his top aide, special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi.

Fatemi was dismissed for his alleged role in leaking details of a high-level meeting during which the civilian leadership reportedly confronted the army over their alleged reluctance to combat militancy in Pakistan. The episode came to be known as ''Dawn leaks''.

On Wednesday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the ''tweet on April 29, 2017 was not aimed at any government office or person.''

''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,'' it said.

''Accordingly, ISPR's said Twitter post stands withdrawn and has become infructuous. Pakistan Army reiterates its firm commitment and continued resolve to uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and support the democratic process.''

The withdrawal of the tweet could mean the two power centres have arrived at a settlement on the issue that had also led to action being taken against Rao Tehsin Ali, the principal information officer of the Ministry of Information.

Earlier the army had demanded the full implementation of recommendations by a committee which investigated the news story published last October Following the ISPR statement today, a document issued by Pakistan's Ministry of Interior said, ''Since action on orders of the prime minister has already been completed by the respective ministries and divisions, the issue of Dawn Leads [sic] stands settled.''

The latest disagreements between the civilian and military leaderships dates back to 6 October when the Dawn newspaper in a front-page report claimed that the civilian authorities have warned the Inter-Service Intelligence spy agency to act against militants or face international isolation.

Also, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa held a meeting with Sharif in Islamabad on the issue. According to a PM House spokesperson, the meeting was held in a ''cordial atmosphere'' and both sides agreed to ''amicably resolve the matter''. ISI chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar was also present during the meeting.

Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is believed to have played a role in arranging the meeting which led to army taking back its tweet.

Later, ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor told reporters that the issue has been resolved as all recommendations of the probe committee have been implemented.

According to the interior ministry, the committee had recommended that the role of Dawn newspaper, its editor Zafar Abbas and the reporter behind the story Cyrill Almeida may be referred to All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) with a direction to take disciplinary actions against them.