Qureshi was arrested on Saturday from his residence in Islamabad and taken to the FIA headquarters

 

ISLAMABAD: A Special Court set up under the Official Secrets Act Monday approved a four-day physical remand of PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case.

Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain placed Qureshi in the custody of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923. The prosecutor sought a 13-day physical remand of the PTI leader which was opposed by his counsel Shoaib Shaheen.

Qureshi was arrested on Saturday from his residence in Islamabad and taken to the FIA headquarters. According to a copy of the FIR, at the conclusion of an enquiry upon a complaint registered by the Counter Terrorism Wing (CTW) of the FIA, it transpired that Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and their other associates were involved in the communication of information contained in a secret classified document to the unauthorised persons by twisting facts to achieve their “ulterior motives” and personal gains in a manner prejudicial to the interests of state security.

The FIR says the accused held a clandestine meeting at Banigala on March 28, 2022 to conspire to misuse the contents of the cipher in order to accomplish their “nefarious designs”. The accused, Imran Khan, mala fidely directed the then principal secretary to the prime minister Muhammad Azam Khan to prepare the minutes (record note) of the said clandestine meeting by manipulating the contents of the cipher message to use it for his vested interest at the cost of national safety

It further says the said cipher telegram is still in the illegal possession/retention of the accused, Imran Khan. The unauthorised retention and misuse of the cypher telegram by the accused persons compromised the entire cypher security system of the state and secret communication method of the Pakistani missions abroad.

On March 27, 2022, Imran Khan, the then-prime minister, claimed that there was a foreign conspiracy afoot to overthrow his government. During his D-Chowk address, Imran did not mention the US or the countries involved. “I seldom write my speeches but I wrote this speech today so that I don’t get emotional and say anything which can affect our foreign policy,” he had said. While taking out a piece of paper from the pocket of his black waistcoat, claiming it evidence, Imran had also said, “We got to know about it [foreign conspiracy] a few months back…if anyone has any doubt, I can show the letter to him but it would be off the record,” the PM said.

“We know from where attempts are being made to pressure us…we’ve been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest no matter what,” he declared. Meanwhile, the authorities have opened a criminal investigation against former prime minister Imran Khan on the charges of leaking state secrets, after naming him and his three aides in a fresh case. The matter, currently under investigation, pertains to a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington early last year, which Khan is alleged to have made public. Imran has accused that the cable was part of a US conspiracy to oust him in a vote of no-confidence in 2022 for visiting Moscow ahead of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Khan is currently serving a three-year sentence in a graft case and has been barred from politics for five years. “Our investigation is collecting evidence to stand a case in a court to indict Imran Khan on the charges of leaking official secrets,” reported an international wire agency on Monday quoting a top security source.

The PTI information secretary Rauf Hasan offered no comment. His close aide Zulfi Bukhari, however, said such a charge against Khan would be unconstitutional after the law became controversial with an assertion by President Arif Alvi that he never signed recent amendments to the legislation, which was mandatory.

Khan has formally been arrested in connection with the charges, which the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is probing, the source said. One of the three aides named in the case, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was arrested on Saturday and sent to the FIA’s custody by a court on Monda for four days, his lawyer Intazar Panjutha said.

A copy of the FIA case said Khan and his aides disclosed the classified documents to unauthorised persons and were “twisting the facts to achieve their ulterior motives and personal gains”. Under Pakistan’s Official Secrets Act, the sentence can range from two to 14 years in prison or even death, lawyers say.

Khan used the secret document for his “vested interest at the cost of national security,” the case says, adding that the former premier also retained illegally a copy of the classified cable.

 

Load More Related Articles
Load More By RelationsTimes
Load More In Information

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

E-Paper 15th of April 2024