ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday accepted Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan's resignation, according to a statement issued by PM Office.
Mushahidullah explained his position with regards to his earlier BBC interview in a meeting with Premier Nawaz Sharif at PM House. The prime minister then accepted his resignation from the Cabinet.
Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid on Saturday had said that the senior cabinet member had tendered his resignation to the PM.
An official from the PM Office had confirmed to Dawn that the government had received the resignation on Saturday, but had said it would be processed on Monday due to public holidays.
Mushahidullah had, in an earlier interview with BBC, alleged that the former Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam Abbasi wanted to overthrow the country's civil and military leadership during last year’s sit-ins by the PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).
In his interview, Mushahidullah alleged that during PM Nawaz's meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on July 28, 2014, an audio tape was played in which Lt. Gen Zaheerul Islam could be heard giving orders to ransack the PM House and spread chaos.
The tape, claimed the federal minister, was obtained by officials of the civilian intelligence agency – Intelligence Bureau.
On hearing the audio tape, Gen Raheel summoned the ISI chief to the meeting and played the tape in front of him, said Mushahidullah. When Zaheerul Islam confirmed that the voice was his own, the army chief asked him to leave, claimed Mushahidullah in his interview with BBC.
Taking notice of the minister’s statements, the PM House had issued a news release, asking Mushahidullah Khan to explain his remarks and tender his resignation. The release also said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had never heard such an audio tape, nor was he aware of its existence.
The minister had been immediately summoned from what was to be a three-day official visit to the Maldives, sources at the PM Secretariat told Dawn.
Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asim Bajwa had also said that “the story about any tape recording as being discussed in media is totally baseless, unfounded and farthest from the truth.”
The chief of army's media wing had gone on to say that “such rumours are irresponsible and unprofessional.”
Meanwhile, Mushahidullah had downplayed his claims, saying that he had never heard the audio recording himself and was told about it by “other sources.” He said he had clarified in his interview that he had himself not heard any audio tape.
The senator said his interview with the BBC was almost a week old and questioned the motives behind releasing it on Independence Day. He said he had given the same explanation to the premier over a telephone call.