Diplomatic cable Imran Khan is alleged to have leaked, was never declassified, says Pakistan’s top probe agency

Diplomatic cable Imran Khan is alleged to have leaked, was never declassified, says Pakistan’s top probe agency

Islamabad, Nov 24 (PTI) Contrary to former prime minister Imran Khan’s position, Pakistan’s top investigating agency has claimed that the secret diplomatic cable that he is alleged to have leaked at a public meeting in March 2022 was never declassified, a media report said on Friday.

Khan, 71, was arrested in August this year after a case was filed against him for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act by disclosing a secret diplomatic cable – called the cipher – sent by the country's embassy in Washington in March last year.

Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party chief, is incarcerated along with the foreign minister in his government, Shah Mahmood Qureshi in what is now known as the cipher case.

“The much-discussed 7th March 2022 cipher, received by the Foreign Ministry from the then Pakistani ambassador to the US, was never declassified,” The News International reported, quoting sources in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The FIA, which had probed the cipher case and gone through the cabinet meetings record, disclosed the sources to the newspaper and said, “The question of declassification of the cipher was discussed in a few meetings during the dying days of the Imran Khan government, but it was never allowed. These cabinet meetings were held after Imran Khan had already waved the copy of the cipher in a public rally.” “It is learnt that the Foreign Ministry had strongly opposed the idea of declassifying the cipher. The matter was also referred to the Law Ministry,” which, the sources said, “also opposed the proposal for declassification of the secret cable.” The sources further said that the Cabinet later only approved the proposal of providing a copy of the cipher to the President, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Speaker National Assembly, and Chairman Senate.

Further providing details that may prove a deterrent to Khan, the sources said that the proposal for declassification of the cipher was first discussed in the cabinet meeting on March 30, 2022 -- three days after Khan had waved the cipher copy in a public rally that he had addressed in Islamabad.

“The 30th March cabinet meeting decided against the declassification of the cipher,” The News International said.

Khan, Qureshi, and other leaders of the PTI have always claimed that the cipher was declassified.

The newspaper quoted Shah Khawar, senior lawyer and head of the prosecution team in the cipher case, who, too, said that the cipher was never declassified and there is no such Cabinet decision.

Foreign Office spokesperson declined to comment on the issue as it is a sub judice matter, the report said. PTI NPK AKJ NPK NPK

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