The Prime Minister’s office on Monday announced that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had accepted the resignation of Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan.
In a meeting at the PM House, Mushahidullah – who tendered his resignation on Saturday – explained his position regarding his controversial interview with BBC Urdu. The premier then accepted his resignation from the federal cabinet.
In the interview with the BBC Urdu, Mushahidullah had alleged that in a high-level meeting between PM Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, evidence had been revealed that indicated that former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General (DG) Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam Abbasi conspired to overthrow the government.
In his interview, Mushahidullah stated that an audio tape obtained by the civilian intelligence agency – Intelligence Bureau – was played in the meeting on July 28, 2014, in which the former DG ISI could be heard giving orders to ransack the PM House in an effort to spread chaos during the sit-ins by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). He also claimed that after the tape was heard Gen Raheel summoned the ISI chief to the meeting, and that Zaheerul Islam confirmed it was his voice in the recording after which he was asked to leave.
The PM House issued a news release following the interview, stating that the PM had not heard the alleged tape, and wasn’t aware of its existence. In addition it asked Mushahidullah – who was immediately summoned from a three-day official visit to the Maldives – to explain his statements.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asim Bajwa issued a statement saying “the story about any tape recording as being discussed in media is totally baseless, unfounded and farthest from the truth.” The Army’s media wing added that “rumors” such as afore mentioned were “irresponsible and unprofessional”.
Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid had stated on Saturday that the senior cabinet member had tendered his resignation, but the PM Office confirmed that public holidays necessitated delaying the resignation’s processing till Monday.
Meanwhile, Mushahidullah has stated that he had never heard the recording himself but had been told about it by “other sources” – something which he claimed he had clarified in the BBC interview and had explained to the premier over a telephone call. He also said that aforementioned interview was almost a week old and questioned the motives behind releasing it on Independence Day.