Ex-COAS Bajwa Says His Predecessor Used 'Dawn Leaks' To Get Extension

Ex-COAS Bajwa Says His Predecessor Used 'Dawn Leaks' To Get Extension
Former Chief of the Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that there was nothing credible in the hype created over Dawn leaks, which refers to a 2016 story carried by the publication.

The story in question comprised an account of a meeting between the civilian and military leadership, where the former told the latter that it should act against terrorists or Pakistan will face international isolation.

Following the publication, civil and military officials had called it 'fabricated and concocted'. Subsequently, a committee headed by a former judge and comprising members of intelligence agencies, was formed to probe the matter.

The former military chief made the remarks during an interview with journalist Shahid Maitla, which was published on Wednesday.

According to him, the furore was created by his predecessor (Gen Raheel Sharif) so he could secure an extension from then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The journalist quoted Bajwa as saying that there was no threat to the national security, as was projected at the time.

Read this too: Lessons of Dawnleaks

"In fact there was nothing in the Dawn leaks," Bajwa said, according to Maitla. “But wherever I would meet them, junior officers would ask me about [the matter]."

"I then talked to [then interior minister] Chaudhry Nisar and Ishaq Dar and suggested that they refer the cases of journalists [allegedly involved in the matter] to CPNE because I didn’t want to stir that hornet's nest."

The former COAS added, "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, he journalist added, also referred to his conversation with Nawaz Sharif who told him that Gen Raheel insists on a three-year extension, along with former DG ISI Rizwan Akhtar.

"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," the former COAS reportedly said.

"In front of Gen Raheel, Gen Rizwan always insisted on a three-year extension for the army chief. But in private, he only asked for a year's extension because he saw himself as the next army chief after Gen Raheel," he maintained.

Nawaz's disqualification

According to the journalist, Bajwa further claimed that he was not responsible for the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

"It was the decision of the five judges of the Supreme Court. When the judges give an order, what can you do? Justice Khosa also had a personal enmity with the Sharif family. Shahbaz Sharif divorced Justice Khosa's sister in the 90s,” he was quoted as saying during the interview.

The former general highlighted that the SC had begun hearing the Panama case during the second long march of the PTI and it was before he was appointed as the army chief.

He added that the army cannot influence everything and that the SC itself was doing “a lot of things” at the time.

Bajwa went on to add that Nawaz was always “good and decent” with him and the army had nothing to do with his disqualification.

Faiz Hameed's role

When asked if the ex-DG ISI Faiz Hameed could pull off the feat by himself, the former COAS said, "When you are asking someone to do eight things, and if he does ten, you cannot ask him".

He added that the phenomenon of intelligence agencies doing many things of their own free will occurs all over the world.