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EditorialImran's cipher narrative gains weight  

Imran’s cipher narrative gains weight  

As the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government wrapped up its term, the reason it was formed in the first place, as alleged by former prime minister Imran Khan, has come to light on the very day it was bidding farewell. As Shehbaz Sharif and other senior members of the National Assembly were making farewell speeches, out of the blue emerge reports that a US-based news organisation has published the alleged text of a diplomatic cipher sent to Islamabad last year by Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed.

This was the very cipher that Imran Khan had been talking about all this time and presented it at a rally, claiming that it was a conspiracy against his government.

The cipher contained details of a meeting between US State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and the then ambassador, Asad Majeed. The news was carried by The Intercept, an online American nonprofit news organisation.

The authenticity of this report has yet to be verified, but it has caused quite a stir. Neither the Foreign Office spokesperson nor some ministers from the PDM government wanted to comment on the leaks.

However, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) loyalists are using this report to take forward Imran’s narrative, stirring a debate on social media. There are some who are still sticking to the point that the cypher issue was concocted. They are still stressing on the point that the US was named by Imran to present himself as a victim of foreign conspiracy.

But what is more intriguing is that if at all the cipher reported by the media outlet is genuine, who is the source of the leak of such a confidential exchange between two very important officials. Imran Khan’s former principal secretary, Azam Khan, had claimed that the then prime minister had misplaced the document. But, isnt it a property of the Foreign Office? Such cables are secret documents which cannot be shared with the public.

Besides, one needs to look into the timing when this meeting took place. Was it before the whole no confidence motion was being discussed or after the then opposition floated the idea of removing Imran from office. This whole cipher leak will not settle down for some time now. It has opened a Pandora’s box. The relevant authorities need to investigate the source. If one goes by what is being discussed on social media about the purported source, it is very shocking. Will this whole scenario benefit the PTI? Will it strengthen its case and is there more to it than meets the eye?

Let’s see what will be the repercussions?

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