A Special Court in Islamabad on Monday extended the physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi for two days, as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) continues its probe into the cipher case under the Official Secrets Act.
Qureshi was arrested earlier this month after the FIA registered a FIR against him and PTI chief Imran Khan under the Official Secrets Act. The FIR states that both leaders, as well as other members of the PTI, illegally communicated the contents of a secret classified document to unauthorized persons by “twisting facts to achieve their ulterior motives and personal gains in a manner prejudicial to the interests of state security.”
The case pertains to a cipher sent by then-ambassador to the U.S. Asad Majeed Khan that Khan alleges is “proof” of the U.S. orchestrating the vote of no-confidence that led to his ouster last year. Apart from Qureshi, the JIT has also questioned Asad Umar and several other members of Khan’s cabinet. Last week, a FIA team secured permission from court to visit the PTI chief at Attock Jail—where he is serving out a prison sentence after his conviction in the Toshakhana case—and question him over his role in the cipher controversy.
Apart from probing Khan’s alleged sharing of the confidential diplomatic cable with unauthorized persons, the FIA is also examining the former prime minister “losing” his copy of the cipher. The matter took on urgency earlier this month after a U.S.-based publication allegedly shared a full transcript of the document, claiming it was provided it an individual affiliated with the Pakistan Army.
Qureshi has thus far been remanded into the FIA’s custody thrice since being arrested on Aug. 19. He maintains he has done nothing wrong and acted “responsibly” as foreign minister when he shared the cipher with then-prime minister Imran Khan. He has also alleged he is being “politically victimized.”