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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice president and former Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on Monday, appeared before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in connection with an inquiry against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and others regarding alleged misuse and unauthorised retention of diplomatic cypher.

The Joint Enquiry Team (JET) is conducting an inquiry following the direction of the federal cabinet regarding charges of prejudicing the national security and interest of the state by directly revealing, without proper authorisation, the classified information by the former prime minister Imran Khan, his political associates, and the secretary to former prime minister through cypher telegram, its subsequent misuse, and unauthorised retention.

Qureshi appeared before the investigation team headed by Director Rana Abdul Jabbar and investigators questioned the PTI leader for nearly two hours. Former PTI secretary general Asad Umar also appeared before the FIA team.

Talking to reporters after appearing before the FIA’s team, Qureshi said that the cypher was and is a reality as the country’s civil and military leadership agreed to this. This was not an ordinary cypher, adding that keeping in view the sensitivity of the cypher it was decided to call a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting not only during the PTI-led government but also in the present government. Both meetings of the NSC accepted the reality of the cypher and also acknowledged its sensitivity, he said.

He said that it has also been acknowledged in both NSC meetings that the language used in the cypher was against the diplomatic norms. In order to move forward on this serious issue, the former premier and the PTI chief had suggested that an independent inquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court be conducted regarding the said matter, Qureshi said, adding that if an inquiry under the supervision of the SC had been conducted then there would be no need of different kinds of speculation regarding the matter.

The PTI leader said that it was totally incorrect that the PTI chief used cypher for political interests. The then PTI government had called a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and the leadership of all political parties had been invited to brief them about the facts.

The then opposition leaders boycotted the Parliamentary Committee on National Security meeting, he said, adding that it is also a reality that the vote of no confidence was filed and then through the vote of no confidence the PTI-led government was ousted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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