US Halted Communications With Pakistan After Imran Khan’s Cipher Fiasco
ISLAMABAD, (IANS) – US officials halted communications with Pakistani counterparts after former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan‘s cipher fiasco, a senior diplomat has revealed.
Imran Khan, on March 27 last year, brandished a piece of paper during a public rally and portrayed it as a copy of a cipher in his speech, alleging that the US wanted him out of power.
The revelation about the US officials’ communications halt was made by Faisal Tirmzi, who was the Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dealing with US-related matters.
He told the details to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as the body conducted interviews of relevant officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office to probe the cipher case.
“The US had halted communications with us. The US asked Pakistan in writing to share the purported cipher being shown by the then PM,” Tirmizi, now serving as the Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE, said.
The US officials told Pakistani counterparts that they would not hold candid discussions with them if secret conversations were made part of the public discourse, Geo News reported.
The Foreign Office then issued an advisory to then-prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, telling them about the repercussions of using diplomatic cables for political gains, Tirmizi said.
Imran is currently in jail for ‘leaking the contents’ of the diplomatic cable after a case was registered against him on August 18 under the Official Secrets Act 1923.
The former Pakistan prime minister’s Principal Secretary Azam Khan also told FIA officials that the ex-premier wanted the military’s help to foil the no-confidence bid against him.
The former Principal Secretary said Imran Khan called a meeting on March 28 (a day after showing the letter) and asked then-Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood to read the contents of the cipher.
“I think he (Imran Khan) wanted to pressurize the military’s top leadership. The former prime minister wanted the military to help him foil the no-confidence bid,” Azam said, Geo News reported.