Salman Masood - Illustrations by saadia Gardezi -

The federal government, which is itself alleged to be behind the leak, is promising to hold an inquiry to trace the source whose conversation with Dawn staffer, Cyril Almeida, has caused tremors in the country’s civil-military landscape.

Official sources say all four provincial chief ministers along with CM Gilgit-Baltistan were part of the Oct.3 meeting, which was held at the Prime Minister House.

The following cabinet ministers and high-ranking officials were in attendance: 1. Mr Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance 2. Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Interior 3. Mr Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Information  4. General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff 5. Mr Tariq Fatemi, SAPM 6. Lt Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua, NSA  7. Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, DG ISI 8. Mr Aizaz Ahmad Ch, Foreign Secretary 9. Mr Aftab Sultan, DG IB 10. Mr Fawad Hasan Fawad, SPM 11. Maj. Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, DG MO & 12. Maj Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, DG Ml

The military officials are not believed to be behind the leak.The speculation windmill has churned out the following government names – some not in attendance --to be behind the ‘leak.’

The Nation does not necessarily agree with or endorse these insinuations.

Khawaja Muhammad Asif 

Asif has been a vociferous critic of the military’s overarching role in the civilian body politic. In return, the military has only begrudgingly accepted him as the defense minister -- and he gets a short shrift during military ceremonies. His critics have often used a video of Asif making an impassioned speech in the parliament during the early 2000’s to portray him as ‘anti-army’. Asif, many argue, would have relished a spectacle of the military eating some humble pie.

Mohiuddin Wani

Wani has tireless energy and a sharp mind which indulges and influences the media, especially electronic media. Of late however, he stopped attending security briefings. Some say his absence offers perfect plausible deniability but Wani vehemently denied his involvement in this episode. The Interior Minister in his Oct.13 briefing said that those suspected of leaking the story won’t be allowed to go abroad. Wani was already out of the country by that time, part of the entourage of the Prime Minister to Azerbaijan.

Pervaiz Rashid 

Soft-spoken and mild-mannered, yet known for his acerbic and sarcastic comments towards the military establishment, it is common knowledge that Pervaiz has found it hard to forget the suffering endured after the 1999 military coup. As the head honcho of the government’s information ministry, some inevitably speculate that he could be the source through which the news travelled.

Aizaz Chaudhry

The foreign secretary is known to be a cautious and calculated diplomat. Dawn’s story mentioned the foreign secretary apprising the civilian leadership about China’s growing impatience with Pak policy towards leaders of certain banned militant groups. However, sources tell The Nation that Chinese concerns reached the GHQ last year and were not new news in the Oct.3 meeting.

Tariq Fatemi

A diplomat, known more for his turf war with Sartaj Aziz, Fatemi’s name has also circulated as the leaker. Apart from his battle to control the Foreign Office bureaucracy, Fatemi has been busy doing the impossible job of convincing Western diplomats about the country’s policies.

Aftab Sultan

The head of the Intelligence Bureau is a trusted ally of the Prime Minister. In the past, IB has been known to embark on plans and strategies to minimize the influence of the military’s intelligence agencies.

Dr. Musadik Malik

Glib and loquacious, Musadik is also included in the chatter as there are guesses he could have engineered the move. Some in the capital speculate that the Wani-Musadik duo could have orchestrated the leak with the blessing of the infamous PM House media cell.

Fawad Hasan Fawad

Fawad’s name has been bandied about. He derives a lot of power due to his proximity with the Prime Minister and some have suspected him to be the source. Others believe that Fawad is too mired in his bureaucratic playing field and not really capable of launching sophisticated media campaigns.

Dawn assistant editor Cyril Almeida was tipped off by anonymous sources regarding sensitive details of a national security meeting between government and military officials held at the Prime Minister House on October 3rd.


It is difficult to believe that the government will seriously pursue finding the source since the alleged person is believed to one amongst its own ranks.

Dawn’s staffer Cyril Almeida has already been struck off the Exit Control List and any subsequent inquiry into the matter is expected to fizzle out.

Most analysts agree that the leak was intended to gain a tactical advantage by the civilians at a time when the appointment of the new army chief is just weeks away. As the army was pushed on the back-foot, the Prime Minister gained more leverage.

On Friday, the military’s top corps commanders issued a press statement, expressing concern over the “feeding of (a) false and fabricated story of an important security meeting” held at PM House. The corps commanders also viewed it as a “breach of national security.”

It portends that the military will not leave the government off the hook that easily.