Home » International News » 2010 » December » December 7, 2010

Pak officials sharing sensitive matters with foreign diplomats breach of 'oath of office'?

December 7, 2010 - Lahore

The sensitive matters discussed by President Asif Ali Zardari and ministers with foreign diplomats, as revealed by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, do not amount to breach of their oath of office, as the authenticity of the reported statements is yet to be determined, a former chief justice of Pakistan and a senior lawyer have said.

"No misconduct is involved in the utterances attributed to various leaders," The Nation quoted Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, as saying.

When pointed out that top government functionaries had not denied what the leaked diplomatic cables had quoted them as saying on various occasions, Siddiqui said that the reaction of these leaders should be awaited before forming any opinion on the subject, and that no action can be taken against the leaders unless some proof is produced to establish that their quotes are authentic.

Senior jurist SM Zafar also overruled the suggestion that the State functionaries committed any breach of Constitutional oath by talking state matters with US officials.

Commenting on the WikiLeaks expose about Pakistan, Zafar said that those were discussions and opinions by the functionaries of two states that did not amount to breach of any oath.

However, senior jurist AK Dogar took a different view, saying that if top functionaries divulge a secret to a foreigner, it amounts to breach of oath.

Working in such elevated offices, they are expected to be aware of how the state secrets could be treated by other side, said Dogar, however, he was not clear as to what offence was made by passing of such secret information, particularly when it was not clear under what circumstances they were shared.

More importantly, no offence could be established against them without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves, he added.


Comment on this story