ISLAMABAD, Dec 6: Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman said on Saturday that the threatening phone call made to President Asif Ali Zardari had been processed, verified and cross-checked under an established procedure.
Without naming Dawn, which carried the story in its edition of Dec 6 titled ‘A hoax call that could have triggered war’, a statement quoted the federal minister as having said, while commenting on reports in a section of the press, that it was not possible for any call to come through to the president without multiple caller identity verifications.
The Nov 28 call by someone from New Delhi who posed himself as Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, she insisted, had also been processed, verified and cross-checked in accordance with an intricately laid down procedure.
“In fact the identity of this particular call, as evident from the caller line identification device, showed that the call was placed from a verified official phone number of the Indian ministry of external affairs”, Ms Rehman said.
The statement, however, conveniently avoided telling whether or not the caller was Indian External Affairs Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee.
Ms Rehman said: “Some of the press comments were based on a briefing given to a few journalists by a responsible senior official of a neighbouring country based in Islamabad”.
“The Government of Pakistan condemns such efforts aimed at using the media for negative diplomacy at a time when tensions are running high between the two countries” she added.
This is to state for the record that the senior Dawn journalist who wrote the story was not present at the briefing alluded to by the minister.—Editor