Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was, over the weekend, questioned by two separate joint investigation teams (JITs) regarding his role in the cipher controversy and the May 9 riots resulting from his arrest from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
Currently serving out a three-year sentence at Attock Jail, Khan has been interrogated multiple times while in custody, as authorities continue their probes into the cases against him. According to sources, he confirmed to a three-member team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s Cybercrime Circle that he had lost a copy of the diplomatic cipher that he claims “proves” the U.S. orchestrated his removal as prime minister through a vote of no-confidence.
The hour-long interrogation, per sources, included questions on whether Khan had produced the cipher in a rally last year, as he had alleged during his speech that he was holding “proof” of his conspiracy claims. However, Khan reportedly said that the paper he had waved around in the rally had contained the minutes of a cabinet meeting on the cipher issue and not the actual document itself.
To another question, Khan claimed it was his right to retain the cipher as prime minister. However, he was unable to provide satisfactory answers as to why he had retained the cipher after being ousted, or why he had decided to make the contents of the cipher public. According to sources, the cipher investigation is nearing conclusion, with the FIA hoping to submit a case in court within a week.
May 9 riots
Separately, Khan reportedly told a JIT probing the May 9 riots that the people involved in the violent demonstrations were not affiliated with his party. The JIT visited the PTI chief at Attock Jail after securing permission for his interrogation by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and presented evidence of him inciting violence ahead of the riots that broke out after his arrest.
According to sources, Khan maintained he did not provoke anyone and was under arrest as the violence unfolded nationwide. He further claimed the rioters had “no choice” but to protest outside military installations, because he was arrested by Rangers, adding the riots would have targeted civilian installations if he were taken into custody by police. He also, repeatedly, urged the officials to speak with his lawyers and was informed that this phase would come after the case proceeded to court.