Cabinet approves legal action against Imran and his aides over ‘cypher’ audios – Pakistan
The cabinet has officially given the go-ahead to investigate leaked audio allegedly featuring PTI chairman Imran Khan and his party leaders, it revealed on Sunday.
On Friday, the firm suggested legal action could be taken after a steady stream of audio recordings emerged, most recently of casual conversations allegedly between Imran and his aides – Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar and his former Principal Secretary Azam Khan – allegedly discussing the figure that the PTI chief has long touted as evidence of a “foreign plot” to oust him from office.
According to Cabinet Division documents dated October 1, which Dawn.com saw, Friday’s meeting constituted a sub-committee “to deliberate and recommend actions regarding the conversation of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, his political associates and the then Prime Minister’s Secretary, available on the internet concerning the encrypted message received from Parep Washington (figure n° 1-0678 of March 7, 2022)”.
“Therefore, the Supreme Investigation Agency (FIA) may be assigned to investigate the matter by assembling a team of senior officers, who may co-opt officers/officials from other intelligence agencies for this purpose, and to prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with the law,” the memo reads.
The cabinet also requested the report on the implementation of its suggestions “immediately”.
In a document released after the Friday rally, it was revealed that a copy of the cipher had disappeared from the Prime Minister’s Household archives, and the cabinet had subsequently formed a special committee which would determine the legal action to be taken. undertake against all. those involved, including the ex-Prime Minister, ex-Prime Minister Azam Khan and senior ministers.
“The cabinet committee will be made up of representatives of the governing coalition parties, as well as ministers,” the published document said.
The document had declared that “the theft of encrypted diplomatic documents is an unpardonable crime” and a violation of the Official Secrets Act of 1923.
The cabinet was told that the audio recordings purportedly featuring Imran and his aides revealed “the former government’s criminal conspiracy”, while the figure was given “fictitious meanings for political mileage and was subsequently given been stolen after fraud, counterfeiting, manufacture”.
Meanwhile, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz argued the figure was not just a piece of paper, saying it “belongs to the State of Pakistan”.
“Anyone who violates the interests of the state by betraying the national trust must set an example so that no foreign agent dares to harm the country under a political guise.”
PTI leaders react to cabinet decision
PTI chief Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the cabinet summary had “proved that encryption is a reality”.
“The government has accepted our position on encryption,” he told a rally in Multan today. Qureshi said his party was not afraid of the investigations announced by the government.
“We have never taken any action that harms the interests of Pakistan. We have served this country with dignity and we will continue to do so,” he insisted.
Fawad Chaudhry gave a date of the figure received from the then-government in the summary released by the cabinet, saying he hoped that PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz “would not change her position on the investigation into encryption by an independent commission”.
Senator Shibli Faraz also said the figure was real, adding that it was also shared by the PTI government with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, among others.
“What is the discussion about? Is it to distract from the tanking economy or the Dar’s & Maryum NRO smokescreen? ” He asked.
‘A new drama is being concocted’: Imran
Meanwhile, addressing a party rally in Taxila, Imran said government figures who once denied the existence of the figure were concocting a “new drama” over his disappearance.
Addressing Maryam, he said the figure was not missing. “You want him to remain missing or else it will be known that your uncle and your father conspired with the United States and overthrew our government,” he alleged.
Imran advised Maryam to ask the Foreign Office (FO) where the missing document was, saying the “master copy” was still with the FO.
So far, a few audios featuring Imran and his party leaders have surfaced on social media, prompting cries from leaders of the ruling coalition for action against the ex-prime minister for having allegedly undermined national security.
In the first audio clip leaked on September 28, the former prime minister can be heard telling Azam to “play” the number and turn it into a foreign plot to overthrow his government. However, he adds that it is not necessary to name a country. “We just have to play it. We don’t have to name America. We just have to play with it, than this date [of the no-trust vote] has been [decided] before.”
To this end, Azam is heard suggesting that Imran convene a “meeting of the then Foreign Minister Qureshi and the Foreign Secretary, during which we will ask Qureshi to read the letter. So whatever it tells us, I’ll type it up and convert it to [meeting] Minutes” so that it becomes part of the office file.
Later, in another audio clip that surfaced on social media on September 30, a voice, believed to be Imran’s, was heard saying, “Shah Jee, we have to hold a meeting tomorrow […] you and the three of us (Imran, Qureshi and Azam Khan) and the foreign minister.
” In her [the meeting]we have to tell them to quietly write the minutes of the meeting […] Azam says we should write the minutes and make photocopies. »
Here, the second voice, believed to be that of Azam, was heard asking: “this number arrived on the 7th or 8th […] he came on the 8th”.
Here, the person on the other end of the line, supposedly Imran, is heard saying that the meeting took place on the 7th.
“We don’t have to name the Americans […] under no circumstances should we take the name. So on this issue, please, the name of the country should not come out of anyone. This is very important for all of you.
“The country where the letter comes from […] I don’t want to hear anyone’s name,” the person believed to be Imran said.
In turn, the voice, believed to belong to Umar, can be heard saying, “Do you deliberately say a letter? It’s not [a] letter is the transcript of the meeting.
In his response, the man believed to be Imran says the letter and the transcript were “the same thing”.
“People wouldn’t have understood the transcript. You say [things] like that in your jalsa,” Imran reportedly said.
The controversy surrounding the no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Imran Khan took a dramatic turn when the embattled PM waved a letter at a March 27 rally – days before his ousting – claiming it contained evidence of a “foreign plot” hatched to overthrow his government.
Imran had been silent about the contents of the letter when he first unveiled it, but spilled the wick days later naming the United States when his government’s exit seemed imminent.
Imran’s claim that the United States spearheaded his exit from power was based on a figure received from Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Asad Majeed, in which the envoy had rendered account of a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu.
Majeed reportedly said that Donald Lu had warned that keeping Imran Khan in power, who faced a vote of no confidence, would have repercussions on bilateral relations.
The United States was reportedly annoyed with Imran for his “independent foreign policy” and his visit to Moscow.
The Pentagon and the State Department have repeatedly denied the charges, saying they are not true.
The National Security Committee (NSC), which includes all service chiefs as well as the head of Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, took up the case on March 31 under the chairmanship of the then Prime Minister, Imran Khan. The forum decided to make a “strong appeal” to a country it did not name for what it called “blatant interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs”.
He also called the interference “unacceptable under any circumstances” and said the language used in the statement was undiplomatic.
While the forum did not call the interference a conspiracy at the time, another NSC meeting was held on April 22 under the chairmanship of newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and which included the same military leaders who attended the March 31 session.
At its second meeting, the NSC statement said it “reaffirmed the decisions of the last NSC meeting” and added explicitly that it had found no evidence of a foreign conspiracy.