The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) officially submitted its challan about the controversial cipher case in a specially designated court under the Official Secrets Act against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, Imran Khan and the party’s Vice Chairman, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The FIA has requested the court to conduct a trial and subsequently convict both the Chairman of PTI and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who previously held the position of foreign minister. Interestingly, PTI leader and former minister Asad Umar has been excluded from the list of accused individuals.
Azam Khan, who formerly served as the principal secretary to the PM, is positioned as a significant witness for the FIA’s prosecution. Documents suggest that Khan’s statements, recorded under sections 161 and 164, accompany the challan.
Inside sources revealed that the PTI chairman is accused of retaining and improperly using a state secret, identified as the cipher. It’s claimed that a copy of this cipher, handed over to the PTI chairman, was never returned.
Following a speech by Shah Mahmood Qureshi on March 27, he aided the PTI chairman. Transcripts from both their addresses have been incorporated into the challan.
List of Witnesses and Ongoing Proceedings
In addition to the challan, the FIA has presented a list comprising 28 potential witnesses. Among them, 27 witness statements, recorded under section 161, are attached to the challan. Notable names in the list include the current Foreign Secretary, Asad Majeed Khan; former foreign secretary, Suhail Mehmood, and the additional foreign secretary, Faisal Niaz Tirmizi. Those responsible for transferring the cipher from the foreign ministry to the PM’s office are also listed as witnesses.
Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain at Attock District Jail oversees the case. The most recent session witnessed the extension of the judicial remand for Imran Khan until October 10, concerning the missing cipher case – a matter of a classified state document.
Background of the Cipher Case
This case originated from an FIR lodged on August 15, under the Official Secrets Act. The Home Secretary initiated the complaint, which named former PM Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Other mentions include Azam Khan and Asad Umar.
The report alleges that both the ex-PM and foreign minister manipulated and distorted the information contained within the diplomatic cipher. It claims their actions compromised state interests and that they conspired to exploit the cipher’s contents. Allegedly, the former premier had urged Azam Khan to alter the cipher’s contents. The report accuses the ex-PM of intentionally keeping a copy of this diplomatic cipher.