Home Latest News Azam Khan Confirms Imran Khan Did Not Return Cipher Copy to Foreign Ministry

Azam Khan Confirms Imran Khan Did Not Return Cipher Copy to Foreign Ministry

Former principal secretary to then-prime minister records statement in court, as cipher trial continues

by Staff Report

File photo of Azam Khan, former principal secretary to then-P.M. Imran Khan

Azam Khan, former principal secretary to then-prime minister Imran Khan, on Thursday recorded his statement in the cipher case, confirming that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder retained a copy of the classified cipher and did not return it to the Foreign Ministry.

Appearing before a Special Court formed under the Official Secrets Act, Azam took oath by placing his hand on the holy Quran and kissing it. Earlier, Khan had demanded the statement be recorded under oath and his wife, Bushra Bibi, had stressed that God’s wrath fell on anyone who lied under oath.

Conducted by Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain at Adiala Jail, the hearing also recorded the statements of Anisur Rehman, Javed Iqbal, Hadayat Ullah, and Muhammad Ashfaq before adjourning proceedings until Jan. 22.

In his statement, Azam said his staff gave him a copy of the classified cipher in March 2022 and he subsequently gave it to Khan. However, he noted, former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had already informed the ex-P.M. of the cipher before he relayed it. He said the PTI founder had retained the copy and later said it had gone missing, adding it was never returned to the Foreign Ministry.

According to Azam, the master copy of the cipher remained with the foreign ministry. He said a meeting at Bani Gala had discussed the cipher after reading it out loud, adding it was determined it should also be placed before the federal cabinet. The cabinet, he continued, referred the matter to the National Security Committee, which decided to issue a demarche to the U.S. for “blatant interference.”

The former prime minister, he claimed, had decided to make the classified document public, adding he had urged Khan to hold a formal meeting on the matter with the Foreign Ministry.

The ex-principal secretary said he had informed Khan, his military secretary, and relevant staff multiple times that the copy of the cipher was not returned to the Foreign Ministry.

Nawaz Sharif

In an informal conversation with journalists on the sidelines of the trial, Khan accused Nawaz Sharif of seeking “dishonest judges,” alleging the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader cannot “tolerate honest judges in the superior judiciary.”

Maintaining Supreme Court Justice Ijazul Ahsan had no relation with him, he regretted the “great loss” of an “upright” judge from the superior judiciary.

According to Khan, Pakistan would have already reached stability if elections were held in October 2023, alleging the polls were delayed to “crush the PTI.” However, he claimed, “spoilers” had failed to dismantle his party. He also absolved himself of controversies over the PTI’s ticket allocations, claiming he had designated Omar Ayub and Shibli Faraz to handle it due to his incarceration.

The former prime minister also weighed in on tensions between Pakistan and Iran, describing the escalation with Tehran as “dangerous.” Condemning Iran’s strikes in Balochistan, he said they called for “introspection,” recalling the matter was also discussed when he visited Iran as prime minister.

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