Pakistan minister removed over news leak that angered army

Pakistan Information Minister Pervez Rasheed. (AFP file photo)
Updated 29 October 2016

Pakistan minister removed over news leak that angered army

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has been removed from office over a newspaper leak that sparked a rift between the army and the government earlier this month, the prime minister’s office said on Saturday.
Two sources from the Information Ministry told Reuters that Rashid had stepped down from his post until an inquiry confirms whether he was the source for a newspaper article detailing the discussion in a top-level national security meeting.
“Evidence available so far points to a lapse on part of the Information Minister, who has been directed to step down from office to enable holding of an independent and detailed inquiry,” a statement by the prime minister’s office said.
The inquiry is seeking to identify the source of the Dawn article, published on Oct. 6, which gave an account of a tense, high-level security meeting held between military and government officials.
Government and diplomatic sources say the Dawn article soured relations between Sharif’s ruling PML-N party and the military, with army officials blaming PML-N for the leak and demanding the source be punished.
Relations between the civilian government and military have often been strained in a country where several prime ministers, including Sharif himself, have been ousted in coups.
Quoting anonymous sources, the Dawn article said civilian government officials called for the military not to interfere if civilian authorities tried to arrest members of anti-India militant groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
India has long accused Pakistan’s military of sponsoring these groups to foment unrest in Indian-administered Kashmir and elsewhere, a charge that Pakistan denies.
The office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly rejected the article as inaccurate and the journalist who wrote it was at one point temporarily barred from leaving the country.
On Saturday, the prime minister’s office said the Oct. 6 story was “planted” and termed it a “breach of national security.” Dawn newspaper editors have stood by the story and its author.
The committee being set up to investigate the leak includes senior officers from the ISI, the most powerful intelligence agency in Pakistan. Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau agencies will be in involved in the committee.
The military on Friday said top PML-N leaders — including finance minister, interior minister, and Sharif’s brother — met the army chief Raheel Sharif, who is not related to the prime minister, to discuss the Dawn leak. The head of ISI was also present
Rashid did not respond to Reuters requests for comment. The military could not be immediately reached for comment.


US judge delays extradition of Carlos Ghosn's accused escape plotters to Japan

Updated 29 October 2020

US judge delays extradition of Carlos Ghosn's accused escape plotters to Japan

  • Prosecutors say the Taylors facilitated a "brazen" escape in which Ghosn fled Japan on Dec. 29, 2019
  • Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges that he engaged in financial wrongdoing

BOSTON: A federal judge on Thursday granted a last-minute request to stop the US government from turning over to Japan two Massachusetts men to face charges that they helped smuggle former Nissan Motor Co Chairman Carlos Ghosn out of the country while he was awaiting trial on financial crimes.
US District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston granted a request by lawyers for US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, to delay the transfer shortly before the two men were scheduled to be placed on a flight to Japan.
Their lawyers sought the delay after the State Department approved handing over the men, who in September lost a court challenge to their potential extradition. They were arrested in May at the request of Japanese authorities.
Taylors' lawyers and the State Department did not respond to requests for comment.
Prosecutors say the Taylors facilitated a "brazen" escape in which Ghosn fled Japan on Dec. 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching Lebanon, his childhood home, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges that he engaged in financial wrongdoing, including by understating his compensation in Nissan's financial statements. Ghosn denies wrongdoing.
The State Department notified the Taylors' lawyers of its decision on Wednesday.
US Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, a Republican who has taken interest in the case, wrote on Twitter that he was "outraged" by the State Department's decision to extradite the two men. "This former Special Forces member and his son will not be treated fairly," he said.