- Recommendations approved through circulation summary
The federal cabinet on Sunday formally approved an inquiry into the audio leaks purportedly featuring PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his Principal Secretary at the time, Azam Khan, Aaj News reported.
The cabinet approved the recommendations through the circulation summary.
The cabinet recommended that a committee comprising senior Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials be constituted and officers from intelligence agencies including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) should also be a part of it.
A recent alleged audio leak revealed that Imran Khan and Azam Khan decided to create their own minutes on the diplomatic cypher. Moreover, the leak also showed that Imran Khan and his principal secretary decided to pass the cypher, which was a transcript of a meeting, as a letter.
Diplomatic cypher missing from PMO records
The decision to formally gave the go-ahead for holding an inquiry 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 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 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.”
Ishaq Dar says Imran violated Official Secret Act over the cypher issue
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the former premier had 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.