Islamabad [Pakistan], March 30 (ANI): Retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan, has said his predecessor hyped the controversy sparked by a 2016 Dawn article in an effort to win an extension from the then PM Nawaz Sharif, reported Dawn.
The assertion first appeared in the second segment of the former army chief's interview with journalist Shahid Maitla, released by the news website Pakistan24.tv on Wednesday.
The journalist asserted in his most recent article that the former army chief dismissed the notion that the so-called "Dawn leaks" controversy represented any harm to national security.
The Dawn story in question described a conference between the military and civilian authorities of the country, at which the government warned the military brass that failure to act against extremists would result in worldwide isolation for the nation.
Following its release, civil and military officials referred to the tale as "fabricated and concocted," and a committee made up of representatives of the nation's intelligence services and chaired by a retired judge was constituted to look into the matter.
In response to a question, Maitla quoted the former army chief as saying, "In fact, there was nothing in the Dawn leaks.""But wherever I would meet them, junior officers would ask me about (the issue). I then talked to Chaudhary Nisar (then-interior minister) and Ishaq Dar (then-finance minister) and suggested that they refer the case of journalists (allegedly involved in the Dawn leaks affair) to CPNE because I didn't want to stir that hornet's nest. And then administrative action was decided against others. Nawaz Sharif wasn't convinced over Pervaiz Rasheed but finally he agreed. Then it was decided to sack Pervaiz Rasheed and Tariq Fatemi," Gen Bajwa said.
According to Dawn, Gen Bajwa also brought up his chat with Nawaz Sharif during which the former leader informed him that Rizwan Akhtar, a former director general of the ISI, and Gen Raheel Sharif were pushing for a three-year extension for their terms of office.
Gen Bajwa was further quoted as saying in the interview, "When I talked to Nawaz Sharif about Dawn leaks, he told me that whenever Gen Raheel Sharif and Gen Rizwan Akhtar came to see him, they insisted for three-year extension of Gen Raheel."Several senior journalists and broadcasters relayed Gen Bajwa's claim that he denied giving Maitla an interview after the first segment of it surfaced last week.
Earlier, Gen Bajwa allegedly had private meetings with a number of high-ranking journalists.
Many of these journalists went on to publish details of their conversations with the former army chief without denying anything, Dawn reported. (ANI)