Pakistan govt sets up panel to probe controversial news report by Cyril Almeida

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The Pakistan government on Monday formed a committee to investigate who “leaked” a controversial news report about a rift between the government and the powerful army over support to militants in the country.

Cyril Almeida
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 30: Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif holds a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the White Room of Number 10 Downing Street on April 30, 2014 in London, England. During his visit to the UK, Mr Sharif is scheduled to meet with David Cameron, address an Investment Conference and meet members of the Pakistani Diaspora. (Photo by Oli Scarff – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

The committee headed by a former high court judge will complete its job in 30 days and submit its findings to the government.

Justice (retd) Aamir Raza Khan will be the chairman of the committee, which has representatives of security agencies ISI, MI and IB, according to the notification by the interior ministry.

Secretary Establishment Tahir Shahbaz and NAB Punjab’s Najam Saeed will also be part of the committee, along with Director FIA Usman Anwar.

According to the notification, the probe committee will enquire into the circumstances of the alleged leak and establish the identity of those responsible.

The government later sacked information minister Pervaiz Rasheed for failing to stop the story from being published.

A rift between the civilian and military leaderships on the powerful ISI’s covert support to terror groups in the country was the subject of a news report on October 6 in the Dawn newspaper.

The widely read daily stood by the story saying it was “verified, cross-checked and fact-checked”.

A travel ban on Cyril Almeida, the journalist who wrote the story, had sparked massive criticism of the government and the military from media houses, journalist associations and civil society.

Almeida’s name was put on the Exit Control List but the ban was later lifted after a backlash against the government.

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