Federal cabinet approved legal action against Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet Sunday formally approved legal action against the PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan over his recent audio leaks about the US cipher.

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

In the first audio leaked on Wednesday, Imran was reportedly talking to Azam and directing him to play with the cipher. 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.

Taking notice of the leaks, the federal cabinet formed a committee on the audios on September 30 purportedly featuring Imran Khan, Azam Khan and others. The committee recommended legal action against Imran Khan, Azam Khan and others on October 1 over the audio leaks on October 1.

Meanwhile, a summary comprising the recommendations of the body was presented before the cabinet. “This is a matter of national security, which has serious implications for national interests and a legal action in this regard is vital,” recommended the cabinet committee, says media reports.

The committee held that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) should probe the matter by constituting a team of senior officers. The federal cabinet approved the summary through circulation.

“It is requested that requisite action(s) to implement the decision(s), under rule 24 of the Rules of Business 1973, in coordination with other divisions, where necessary, may please be initiated immediately,” read a memorandum issued by the Cabinet Division on Sunday.

“An implementation report may be furnished with the Cabinet Division, immediately,” it added. The FIA will investigate the US cipher and audios and take action against Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar and Azam Khan.

To further aid the investigation, the agency may co-opt officers/officials from other intelligence agencies. 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 cipher 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.

In the first audio clip, Imran is purportedly heard saying: “We only have to play on this. We don’t have to name (any country). We only have to play with this that 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 cipher. “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 (cipher’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 cipher, 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.

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