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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Sunday formally approved the decision to launch legal action against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and his party leaders over their recent alleged audio leaks about the cypher.

The Cabinet in its meeting held on September 30, constituted a sub-committee to deliberate and recommend actions regarding the conversation of the former prime minister, his political associates and the then Secretary to the Prime Minister, available on the internet regarding the cypher.

A summary comprising the recommendations of the body was presented before the cabinet.

According to the recommendations of the sub-committee, “It is matter of national security, which is/was pre-judicial to national interest and needs legal action. Therefore, the apex investigation agency (FIA) may be directed to inquire into the matter by constituting a team of senior officers, which may co-opt officers/officials from other intelligence agencies for the purpose, and to proceed further against the perpetrators in accordance with the law.”

The federal cabinet approved the summary through circulation. The FIA will be given the task to probe into the cypher and the audios allegedly featuring Imran Khan and others.

In the two audio leaks that took the internet by storm and shocked the public across the country, former prime minister Imran Khan, Asad Umar, and then-principle secretary Azam Khan could allegedly be heard discussing the cypher and how to use it in their interest.

PML-N vows to take leaked audiotapes, purported cypher to logical end

In the first audio that was leaked on Wednesday, the PTI chairman was reportedly talking to Azam and directing him to play with the cypher. Azam was then heard advising Imran to hold a meeting with Qureshi and foreign secretary Sohail Mehmood to bring this on record by faking the minutes of the meeting.

According to transcript of the second leaked audio, “Imran Khan: Shah jee [Shah Mahmood Qureshi], we three [Imran Khan, Azam Khan and you] have to hold a meeting tomorrow, along with the foreign secretary [Sohail Mahmood]. [In the meeting], we will ask him to just sit quietly and write the minutes of the meeting as is. Azam [Khan] is saying to write the minutes [...] and we will keep the photostat.

Azam Khan: This cypher came on the 7th, 8th or 9th [March]? Another person [present in the meeting]: It came on the 8th.

Imran Khan: But the meeting took place on the 7th. We do not have to name Americans under any circumstances. So on this issue, please, nobody should name the country. This is very important for all of you. From which country did the letter come? I don’t want to hear it from anyone.

Asad Umar: Are you intentionally calling it a letter? Because this isn’t a letter, it is a transcript of the meeting.

Imran Khan: It is the same thing, whether it’s the meeting transcript or a letter. People won’t understand what a transcript is. You have to say this in your rallies.”

According to transcript of first leaked audio, “We only have to play on this. We don’t have to name (any country). We only have to play with this, which this date was before. The new thing that will emerge is that the letter ….” Then, the second voice, believed to be of Azam, is heard, suggesting to Imran to hold a meeting on the cypher. “See, if you recall, in that the ambassador has written in the end to (send) a demarche. Even if the demarche is not to be sent; I have thought a lot about it at night — you said they raised it — I thought about how to cover all this,” he says.

He says: “Let’s hold a meeting with Shah Mahmood Qureshi (who was the foreign minister during the PTI-led government’s tenure) and the foreign secretary. Shah Mahmood Qureshi will read out that letter and whatever he reads out will be converted into a copy. I will then make minutes that the foreign secretary has prepared this.

“But its (cypher’s) analysis will have to be conducted here. We will carry out the analysis and convert it into minutes as we want so that it becomes the official record,” Azam says and then elaborates that the analysis would conclude that it is an indirect threat: “It is called a threat in diplomatic language.”

Azam purportedly adds that “minutes are in my hands … we will draft the minutes.” Here, purportedly Imran is heard asking who would be called to the meeting: “Shah Mahmood, you, me and Sohail.”

Just these, the other person says. “We will do it tomorrow,” the person believed to be Imran replies. In turn, the voice, supposedly of Azam, is heard explaining that following this plan, “things will become a part of the record. Consider that he is the consulate for the state. When he will read it out, I will easily copy it and it will be on record that this has happened.”

Moreover, he suggests that “you (supposedly Imran) call the foreign secretary so that it doesn’t remain political and becomes a part of the bureaucratic record.” To this, the man believed to be Imran points out that an ambassador has written the cypher, implying that it should already be a part of the bureaucratic record since it has been written by an envoy.

“But we don’t have a copy of it. How did they release it?” the person on the other end is heard replying to Imran. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the government will conduct a forensic audit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s leaked audios.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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