Fake WikiLeaks: Pakistan news agency editor sacked

Islamabad : Siddique Sajid, editor of Pakistan’s Online news agency, has been sacked after it published a fake WikiLeaks report that New Delhi allegedly played a role in destabilizing the country’s Balochistan province.

Online editor-in-chief Mohsin J. Baig, soon upon his return from Turkey where he had accompanied Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani during his official visit there, had ordered an enquiry into the fake WikiLeaks story.

The decision to sack Siddique Sajid was taken after it was established in the enquiry that he had “solely misused” his editorial authority in the absence of the news agency’s editor-in-chief by “fabricating a false story on a highly sensitive subject such as the WikiLeaks’ disclosure”, Online said on its website.

It regretted the release of the story, its subsequent publication by media, and “the consequent erosion of its public credibility”.

The Online International News Network is one of Pakistan’s largest news agencies.

“We shall continue to perform this useful role in a responsible way as we have always done,” Baig was quoted as saying.

“I know the difficulty of reporting in a place laced with vested interests operating clandestinely, but reporting on currently the most volatile subject in global media and, that also, without corroborating the story’s contents with factual documents is unacceptable,” he added.

The Online story had mentioned India’s role in allegedly destabilizing Pakistan’s tribal areas and Balochistan province and attributed these statements to then US ambassador to India, citing WikiLeaks.

Online had claimed Saturday that “the said story was lifted from the Daily Mail newspaper published from Islamabad”.

“The newspaper is believed to be close to the intelligence agencies in Pakistan and planted stories,” Online said.

“We have been regularly reproducing stuff from Pakistani media organisations and releasing prominent points,” the clarification read.

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