It was revealed on Sunday that the investigation into the audio leaks, which allegedly feature PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other party leaders, has received formal approval from the cabinet.
‘Foreign Conspiracy Hatched’
The PTI leader has long cited the cypher as proof of a “foreign conspiracy” to remove him from office.
On Friday, the cabinet suggested that legal action could be taken in response to a steady stream of audio recordings that have come to light, most recently of casual conversations allegedly between Imran and his aides Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and his former principal secretary Azam Khan.
The Friday meeting established a subcommittee “to deliberate and recommend actions regarding the conversation of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan, his political associates, and the then Secretary to the PM, available on the internet regarding the cypher message received from Parep Washington (Cypher No. 1-0678 dated March 7, 2022),” according to Cabinet Division documents dated October 1.
The memo stated that the “apex investigative agency (FIA) may be directed to probe into the situation by creating a team of senior officers, which may coax officers/officials from other intelligence agencies for the purpose,” and to continue taking legal action against the offenders.
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Additionally, the cabinet requested the implementation report on its recommendations quickly.
The cabinet formed a special committee to decide what legal action should be taken against everyone involved, including the former prime minister, former principal secretary to prime minister Azam Khan, and senior ministers, after it was revealed in a handout distributed following the Friday huddle that a copy of the cypher had “gone missing” from the Prime Minister House records.
The handout released stated that “the cabinet committee will include the representatives of the coalition parties in the government, together with ministers.”
The Official Secrets Act of 1923 was violated and the theft of diplomatic cypher records was described as a “unforgivable offence” in the presentation.
The audios allegedly involving Imran and his advisers, according to the cabinet, demonstrated “the criminal conspiracy of the prior government,” while the cypher was given “fictitious meanings for political mileage” before being taken by fraud, forgery, and fabrication.