Qureshi, Umar to appear before cipher JIT today

FIA led probe team asks Imran Khan to appear before it tomorrow at 12 noon

Saleh Mughal July 24, 2023
PTI stalwarts Shah Mehmood Qureshi (R) and Asad Umar (L). PHOTO: File


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leaders, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Asad Umar, will appear today [Monday] before a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) led joint inquiry team (JIT) probing into the cipher-gate scandal in line with a decision of a cabinet sub-committee.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi--PTI vice chairman, who served as the country foreign minister during the party’s rule between August 2018 to April 2022--will appear before the team at 11am at the FIA’s headquarters in the federal capital.

Asad Umar, who served as the PTI secretary-general till May 24 when he resigned from the office in the wake of a crackdown against the former ruling party, will appear before the team at 12 noon.

The JIT has also issued notice to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who has been asked to appear before the probe panel on Tuesday at 12 noon.

The JIT is carrying out the investigation on the direction of the cabinet which alleges that former prime minister Imran Khan, his associates and his former principal secretary prejudiced the national security and interest of the state by directly revealing classified information—a diplomatic cipher—without proper authorization.

It also accuses them of misuse and unauthorized retention of the cipher telegram.

On March 27, 2022, ahead of a vote of no-trust that resulted in his ouster, Imran Khan had pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and waved it at the crowd attending a massive public meeting in Islamabad, claiming it was evidence of an “international conspiracy” being hatched to topple his government.

Addressing the nation on March 31, 2022, the former premier discussed the "threat letter" that purportedly showed “evidence” of a foreign conspiracy to oust his government.

Then, in what appeared to be a slip of the tongue, he had named the United States as the country behind the threat. "...the letter stated that the no-confidence motion was being tabled even before it was filed, which means the opposition was in contact with them," he alleged.

He said the memo was against him, not against the government. "...it stated that if the no-confidence motion passes, Pakistan will be forgiven. If not, there will be consequences."

Imran Khan had claimed that it was an "official letter that was communicated to Pakistan's ambassador, who was taking notes during the meeting."

Read more: 'Political' use of cypher may lead to 14 years in prison, says law minister

Last week, on July 19, former prime minister Imran Khan's then-principal secretary Azam Khan allegedly gave testimony before a magistrate, terming the US cipher a "conspiracy" used by the former PM to "for creating a narrative against establishment and opposition."

Commenting on the statement of Azam Khan, who had been missing for the last one month, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had said the “confession” of the former principal secretary was a “charge sheet” against the PTI chief.


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