- Finance minister Ishaq Dar says former premier Imran violated the Official Secret Act over the cypher issue, vows to bring the issue to its logical conclusion
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz said Saturday that her party will never compromise on the country's national interests, alleging that PTI chairman Imran Khan conspired against Pakistan's democratic system and foreign policy, Aaj News reported.
Addressing a press conference along with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Maryam said Imran undermined Pakistan's diplomatic ties with the world.
"You[Imran Khan] should apologise to the people of Pakistan and your own party," she remarked.
Describing Imran's audios, which allegedly reveal PTI's chairman's discussion with his party leadership regarding the issue of diplomatic cypher, Maryam said: "These conversations indicate how Pakistan's national interests were undermined."
Speaking on the occasion, Dar revealed that Principal Secretary Azam Khan has admitted that he gave the diplomatic cypher to Imran Khan.
“The cypher is missing from the archives and the audio leaks have laid bare their plan,” he alleged.
He said that the former premier violated the Official Secret Act over the cypher issue.
“Khan is solely responsible for this whole travesty,” he said, adding that if we do not bring this issue to its logical conclusion, then it would be another violation of the Constitution.
He further said that the cabinet has reviewed all aspects in this regard. “The minutes that were created regarding the diplomatic cypher are present but the original document is missing from the records,” Dar claimed.
“We will betray our constitution if we do not take it to its logical end," he reiterated.
The development comes after the federal cabinet announced to constitute a committee to investigate the diplomatic cypher that it said was “stolen” from the records of the Prime Minister's House.
According to a statement issued by the premier’s office, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a federal cabinet meeting on the issue of the diplomatic cypher on Friday. The body was informed that the copy of the said document was missing from the Prime Minister House’s records.
“The meeting was told that although there is a record of the receipt of the cypher sent to the former premier at the Prime Minister House, its copy is not available in the record,” said the statement. As per the law, the cable is a property of the Prime Minister House, it added.
The statement said that the “theft” of the letter was a serious matter and after a detailed consultation, a special cabinet committee was formed to probe the matter.
The committee includes foreign, interior, and law ministers, and representatives of all the coalition partners of the government. It will recommend what legal action the government should take against former premier Imran, the then principal secretary to PM Azam Khan, and former ministers.
The meeting was called after an audio clip, purportedly Imran Khan surfaced, containing his conversation with former planning minister Asad Umar, former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and then-principal secretary Azam Khan.
In the conversation, the voice, believed to be of Imran Khan, can be heard scheduling a meeting on the cypher “to play with it” and asking other participants not to mention the name of any country while talking about it. The meeting would feature Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Azam Khan and then foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood.
In the clip, the man, believed to be Imran, can be heard telling the others that minutes would be made “as per our wishes.”
A voice believed to be Azam’s is heard saying, “this cypher came on 7th or 8th.”
In response, Imran can be heard saying that the meeting was held on the 7th.
“We don’t have to name the Americans under any circumstances,” he says.
Another person, purportedly Asad Umar, can be heard telling Imran that he has received a copy of a transcript containing minutes of the meeting and not a copy of the letter.
Imran then apparently agrees that he has sent the transcript and will call it a letter in his speeches to the public “because the public will not understand transcript therefore, terming it a letter would make more sense.”
The audio tape was the second part of the leaked audio. Earlier on Wednesday, the alleged conversation between Imran and Azam Khan was also leaked in which the former premier can be heard saying "let's play with the cypher and turn it into a foreign conspiracy".