Matter of national security: Govt directs FIA to probe ‘diplomatic cypher’ controversy

Investigation agency told to set up a probe committee, co-opt officers from other intelligence agencies
Oct 02, 2022

The federal cabinet has approved a recommendation of its sub-committee which calls for further investigation into and take legal action over the national security issue of the ‘diplomatic cypher’ and associated events surrounding it as suggested in the recent audio leaks involving former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

In a set of documents, which were dated from October 1 but only came to light on Sunday morning, a set of actions was recommended by the sub-committee of the federal cabinet.

The subcommittee, led by Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, had been formed on September 30, to probe the audio leaks in which former prime minister Imran and his then principal secretary Azam Khan can be heard discussing the ‘diplomatic cypher’ and how to manipulate its contents for the former’s benefit.

The subcommittee, after deliberating the matter, deemed that the matter to be one of national security.

“It is a matter of national security, which is/was pre-judicial to national interest and needs legal action,” it held.

“Therefore, the apex investigation agency may be directed to inquire into the matter,” it recommended.

The subcommittee held that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) should probe the matter by constituting a team of senior officers.

To further aid the investigation, it said that the agency may co-opt officers/officials from other intelligence agencies.

“Proceed further against the perpetrators in accordance with the law,” it recommended.

On Sunday the government approved the recommendations of the sub-committee and ordered the authorities to take legal action against diplomatic cypher, including Imran Khan, Azam Khan and other PTI leaders.

“It is requested that requisite action(s) to implement the decision(s), under rule 24 of the Rules of Business 1973, in coordination with other divisions, where necessary, may please be initiated immediately,” read a memorandum issued by the Cabinet Division on Sunday.

“An implementation report may be furnished to the Cabinet Division, immediately,” it added.

It is expected that once the FIA launches the formal probe, former prime minister Imran Khan, his then-principle secretary Azam Khan, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former planning minister Asad Umar will be summoned to record their statements and answer questions.

Failure to appear may result in their arrests.

After completing its probe, the FIA has been asked to complete its investigation as soon as possible and submit a report to the federal cabinet immediately. The cabinet will review the findings and recommendations for action and act accordingly, including lodging a case against Imran Khan et all under Article 6 – high treason.

Two alleged audios of a conversation between former prime minister Imran Khan and his principal secretary Azam Khan had been leaked online in which they discussed an alleged encoded diplomatic cable – cypher – was sent from the Pakistani embassy in Washington to Islamabad. Khan told his principal secretary to play along and turn it into a foreign conspiracy.

Imran Khan

leaked audio

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