Cypher audio leak: Cabinet approves action against Imran Khan and aides

The federal cabinet has approved an investigation into the audio leaks which allegedly involve PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other party leaders.

The cabinet has decided to take legal action against Imran Khan over the cypher controversy which Imran Khan long cited as proof of a “foreign conspiracy to remove him from office”.

On Friday, the cabinet suggested that legal action could be taken in response to a steady stream of audio recordings that have come to light, most recently of casual conversations allegedly between Imran and his aides Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and his former principal secretary Azam Khan.

The Friday meeting established a subcommittee “to deliberate and recommend actions regarding the conversation of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan, his political associates, and the then Secretary to the PM, available on the internet regarding the cypher message received from Parep Washington (Cypher No. 1-0678 dated March 7, 2022)”, according to Cabinet Division documents dated October 1.

The memo stated that “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 cabinet formed a special committee to decide what legal action should be taken against everyone involved, including the former PM Imran Khan, former principal secretary Azam Khan, and senior ministers, after it was revealed that a copy of the cypher had gone missing from the Prime Minister House records in a handout distributed following the Friday meeting.

According to the handout that was distributed, the cabinet committee would be made up of ministers and representatives from the coalition parties in the government.

The handout mentions that “theft of diplomatic cypher records is an unforgivable crime” and a violation of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

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