In a significant development, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has presented the challan for the cipher case in a specially convened court, operating under the Official Secrets Act. This case involves Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who has been formally indicted in the challan. The FIA has called upon the court to initiate trial proceedings against the PTI Chairman and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Notably, the list of accused does not include former minister and PTI leader Asad Umar, sources have revealed. A key figure in the FIA’s case is former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Azam Khan, who has emerged as a pivotal witness. His statements, recorded under sections 161 and 164, have been included as part of the challan.
The crux of the case revolves around allegations that the PTI chairman had possession of a cipher and misused it, in violation of state secrecy protocols. Disturbingly, a copy of the cipher entrusted to the chairman was never returned, according to insider sources. Furthermore, transcripts of the speeches delivered by PTI Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on March 27, along with his subsequent assistance to the PTI chairman, have been annexed to the challan.
To bolster its case, the FIA has submitted a comprehensive list of 28 witnesses to the court, underscoring the gravity of the allegations. Additionally, statements from 27 witnesses, recorded under section 161, have been included as part of the challan.
This list of witnesses features prominent figures such as Incumbent Foreign Secretary Asad Majeed Khan and former Foreign Secretary Suhail Mehmood, along with Additional Foreign Secretary Faisal Niaz Tirmizi. Importantly, all individuals involved in the transmission of the cipher from the foreign ministry to the prime minister’s office have been identified as witnesses in the case.
The case has been presided over by Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, who conducted proceedings at the Attock District Jail under the Official Secrets Act 2023. As part of the latest development, the judicial remand of former prime minister Imran Khan has been extended until October 10 in the missing cipher case, which pertains to a classified state document.
The cipher case initially unfolded on August 15 when an FIR was filed under the Official Secrets Act based on a complaint from the Home Secretary. The FIR implicated former prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Additionally, the names of former principal secretary Azam Khan and former planning minister Asad Umar were mentioned, suggesting that action may be taken against them as well, pending investigations.
According to the FIR, the former prime minister and foreign minister allegedly tampered with the contents of a diplomatic cipher, leading to suspicions of a conspiracy aimed at exploiting classified documents for ulterior motives. The FIR further asserted that their actions posed a threat to state interests, painting a grim picture of alleged misconduct within the highest echelons of the government.
The submission of the challan in the cipher case against PTI Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi marks a crucial step in a legal saga that has captured the nation’s attention. The presence of key witnesses and the extensive list of individuals involved underscore the seriousness of the allegations. As the case unfolds, Pakistan awaits further developments in this high-profile legal proceeding.