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IHC expects PM to not go public with ‘threat letter’

Petition filed in Supreme Court seeking inquiry into the letter

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday expressed confidence that Prime Minister Imran Khan, as an elected representative, would not make public the content of the letter which the premier had claimed in a March 27 public gathering was evidence of “foreign powers” behind the opposition’s no-confidence move to oust his government.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said in the court order that he hoped the prime minister “would not disclose any information or act in breach of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor the oath taken by him under the Constitution”. “Any decision taken by the worthy Prime Minister has to be in consonance with his obligations under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and in letter and spirit of the oath of the office,” he wrote in the order.

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The court, it read, has trust and confidence that the prime minister would not reveal any information which may be prejudicial to the national interest and integrity of Pakistan nor that he would act in any manner that would have the effect of violating his oath. The controversy arose after PM Imran, in his speech at a public rally on Sunday, claimed that there was a “foreign-funded plot” being hatched against his government.

He showed a letter, but without divulging its contents, as evidence of the existence of the conspiracy aimed at toppling his government. Imran insisted that efforts were being made to seek his ouster since he pursued an “independent” foreign policy. Since his revelations, many questions are being asked including whether the letter was written by any country or was an internal assessment shared by one of the foreign diplomatic missions of Pakistan.

The “threat letter” was also shared with the military leadership, according to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. But relevant quarters revealed that they had “no knowledge” of any such plot and neither did they see any evidence. Earlier on Wednesday, PM Imran said that he will show the letter to senior journalists and government allies. However, the idea was later dropped.

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Meanwhile, a scheduled address to the nation by the premier was also postponed and no reason was given in this regard by the ruling party officials.

A petition seeking an inquiry into the letter was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. It was filed by Advocate Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta. The federation of Pakistan through the Law and Justice Division secretary has been named as the respondent. The petitioner said that it was an “extraordinary situation” which may cause a law and order situation to develop in the country by causing hatred against friendly countries. He added that the situation required immediate steps to ease the “mental agony” of the common Pakistani caused by the development. “It is, therefore, respectfully prayed that the respondent may be directed to deliver the ‘letter’ to the concerned civil and military authorities to investigate this threat/letter […],” it added.

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