Facing Military Pressure, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Ousts 2 Top Aides

Syed Tariq Fatemi, a special adviser to Mr. Sharif on foreign affairs and one of his top aides, was removed from his post on Saturday, as was Rao Tehseen Ali Khan, a senior official of the Information Ministry.

The controversy began last fall, when Dawn, considered the country’s leading English daily newspaper, published a front-page news article detailing an unprecedented confrontation between civilian and military leaders during a high-level meeting at the prime minister’s house.

Cyril Almeida, a well-known journalist there, wrote that the civilian leaders had chided the head of the intelligence agency for failing to act against militants in the country.

The news story sparked a furor among powerful generals, who, throughout the country’s history, have never been held accountable for their actions. The military called the leak of the meeting a breach of national security and urged strong, punitive action against those responsible for feeding the newspaper.

Soon after the article’s publication, Mr. Almeida was temporarily barred from leaving the country and Pervez Rashid, the information minister, was removed from his post for failing to stop publication of the story.

Photo

Pakistan’s military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, at a news conference this month in Pakistan.

Credit
Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

The flare-up is the latest in a long history of Mr. Sharif’s troubles with the military. His last government was toppled in 1999 in a bloodless military coup.

The fact that Mr. Ghafoor, the army’s spokesman and a major general by rank, used the word “reject” in his Twitter message was widely criticized, especially on social media, as many wondered how a military official, technically a subordinate to a government leader, could…

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