Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 1 (ANI): The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday submitted the challan in the cipher case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan-based Geo News reported.

In its challan, the FIA stated that Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi were found guilty in the matter. The agency requested the court to conduct their trial and sentence them in the case.

Former PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar's name has not been included in the list of accused, Geo News reported citing sources. Imran Khan's former principal secretary Azam Khan has been named as a "strong witness" in the case, the report said.

In addition, the FIA has attached the statements of Azam Khan recorded under Sections 161 and 164, along with the challan, according to sources. The sources further said that the PTI chief kept the cipher to himself and misused the state secret, according to Geo News report.

According to sources, former Pakistan PM Imran Khan had a copy of the cipher. However, he did not return it. Furthermore, the agency has attached the transcript of Khan and Qureshi's speech on March 27, 2022, Geo News reported.

On March 27 last year, Imran Khan brandished a letter claiming it was a cipher from a foreign nation, which wanted his government to be removed from power. The FIA presented a list of 28 witnesses to the court with the challan after recording their statements under Section 161.

According to sources, the names of former foreign secretaries Asad Majeed, Sohail Mehmood and the then additional foreign secretary Faisal Niaz Tirmizi have also been included in the list of witnesses. On September 26, the special court extended the judicial remand of Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi till October 10 in the cipher case. Earlier in August, the FIA booked the PTI chairman and vice chairman under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly misplacing and misusing the classified document for their vested political interests.

Subsequently, Khan and Qureshi were arrested in connection with the probe into the case and a special court was formed under the Official Secrets Act to try the accused, Geo News reported.

The ciphergate controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Imran Khan just days before his ouster in April 2022 brandished a letter, claiming that it was a cipher from a foreign nation, which mentioned that his government should be removed from power, according to The News International report.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor mention the name of the nation that had sent it. But a few days later, he named the United States and said that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal, The News International reported.

Imran Khan claimed that he was reading contents from the cipher, said that "all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power". The cipher case against Pakistan's former PM became serious after his principal secretary Azam Khan in a statement before a magistrate and the FIA said that the former PM had used the US cipher for his "political gains" and to avert a vote of no-confidence against him, The News International reported.

Azam Khan said the US cipher was used in political gatherings by the PTI chairman, despite his advice to avoid such acts. He mentioned that the former prime minister also told him that the cipher could be used to divert the public's attention towards "foreign involvement" in the opposition's no-confidence motion. (ANI)

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