PM Gilani chairing the meeting of Defence Committee of Cabinet (DCC) at PM House.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The Defence Committee of the Cabinet decided on Friday to convey to the US authorities the government’s reservations over the disclosure of confidential and secret information by WikiLeaks, reliable sources said.

A meeting of the committee, presided over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, denounced the leak of sensitive information and warned that its continuation would endanger friendly ties among countries.

The DCC meeting was attended by ministers for defence, interior, finance and information, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the three services chiefs.

The sources said that a formal stance of the government on the problem caused by the whistleblower website would be handed over to the US authorities through proper channel at an appropriate time.

Some TV channels reported that after the DCC meting, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called on President Asif Ali Zardari, but neither the Presidency nor the ISPR confirmed the report.

Although the Prime Minister’s Secretariat issued a press release of over 1,000 words on the proceedings of the committee, it did not say a word about the much-talked about leak of loads of top secret information about the country the US embassy had been sending back home through confidential cables.

“There are so many important issues than this (WikiLeaks disclosure) and whatever we have discussed at the meeting has been mentioned in detail in the official handout issued by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told Dawn.

He kept quiet when repeatedly asked if the DCC, which represents the top civil and military leadership, had deliberated upon information released by WikiLeaks over the past few days.

But sources privy to the proceedings confided to Dawn that the issue was very much discussed by the participants during the four-hour meeting. Initially, they said, it was decided to include one paragraph about it in the official statement, but it was later dropped on the instructions of a ‘top official’.

Some participants, according to the sources, wanted that a clear stand should be taken on the WikiLeaks issue in the official statement, but others advised that it should be played down for the time being.

According to the press release, the prime minister said that Pakistan needed to depart from its ‘traditional thinking’ on national security and develop ‘alternative strategies’.

“The multiplicity and size of the challenges to our national security demand that we may have to make a departure from our traditional thinking and look for out-of-box solutions and alternative strategies,” he told the meeting.

Mr Gilani also sought views of the participants on his visit to Afghanistan beginning on Saturday. But the press release did not say anything about what response he had received from the participants.

The prime minister said the committee would meet every three months to deliberate on various aspects of national security.

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