Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to share a letter — that he claimed during the PTI's March 27 rally contained evidence of a "foreign-funded conspiracy" to topple his government — with Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, federal minister Asad Umar said on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Planning and Development Umar said he had seen the letter himself, adding that if someone had doubts, the "prime minister is ready ... he thought we can share with the chief justice of the Supreme Court."
"Obviously, it is the highest office of justice in Pakistan, it is a huge position that has respect in this country. Personally too, the chief justice has a very good reputation. The prime minister said that [...], if necessary, and for the people's satisfaction, he is ready to present the letter to the chief justice of the Supreme Court."
In this regard, Chaudhry further clarified that it was not a "judicial function" of the CJP to review the contents of the letter. The letter would not be shared with him in the capacity of a judge of the SC, but as someone who held a high and respectable position in the country, he added.
"He is an elder of the country," the minister said.
What's in the letter?
Umar said the letter was dated prior to the submission of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
"This is a very concerning thing and it is important because this letter clearly mentions the no-confidence resolution. There is no ambiguity that the no-confidence motion is being talked about."
Umar further said the letter stated that if Imran Khan remained the prime minister, it would lead to "horrific consequences". Moreover, the minister said, contents of the letter termed the ouster of PM Imran a "good result".
He added that the "threat" PM Imran spoke about in relevance to the letter during his March 27 address "is directly linked to the no-confidence motion".
PM Imran had said during his address: "Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest."
Along similar lines, Umar said today that the letter also mentioned Pakistan's foreign policy.
"So it is clear that ... the foreign hand [involved in toppling the PTI government] and no-confidence motion are linked. These are not two separate things and we see a clear connection between them," he added.
Umar said all contents of the letter could not be made public due to legal limitations.
When it was his turn to speak, Chaudhry mentioned incidents such as the killing of former prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, the hanging of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the death of General Ziaul Haq in a plane crash.
So, he said, it was not the first time such efforts were being made to oust a prime minister in the country.
"And Imran Khan is a leader who doesn't take calls from abroad ... He has been warned in this letter of the consequences if he continues to practice politics in such a manner," Chaudhry remarked.
'Letter shared with top civil, military leadership'
Without naming anyone and in an apparent reference to opposition leaders, Umar also referred to the demands of sharing contents of the letter.
"They are asking why can't we share the letter with them," he said, adding that "national secrets are very sensitive in nature and there are clear laws on with whom these could be shared".
Umar then insisted that the letter was a "reality" and revealed that he had seen it.
"I bear witness to it," he said.
Umar further said the letter had only been shared with the top civil and military leadership and a few members of the federal cabinet.
'Nawaz met Israeli diplomats'
The minister further alleged that former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was one of the "characters" mentioned in the letter, which he said revealed the conspiracy to topple the PTI government.
"He (Nawaz) is sitting in London and holding meetings abroad", he said, adding that PM Imran would share details of these meetings when he would feel the need. Many of these meetings, he continued, were reported by the media, and "we are seeing a result of these meetings in the form of the no-confidence motion".
Chaudhry claimed that Nawaz had also held meetings with Israeli diplomats.
"This is why I was saying that he should not be allowed to go abroad, because when such people go abroad they become a stooge, a weapon of the international establishment," he said.
Umar further said the senior leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement was also aware of "how the contents of the letter are linked to the no-confidence motion".
"While speaking to our MNAs and media persons, they used to say that 'all matters have been settled', and so they obviously know how it is connected to the no-trust motion," the minister said.
However, he went on, "I believe that the majority of lawmakers in the NA, including those from the opposition, are unaware of the other elements behind the no-confidence motion."
"I am sure they will not become part of a measure that poses a threat to the country and because of which Pakistan's sovereignty and freedom are disgraced," Umar said. "Until now, they were unaware. But I am sure that now, after being made aware of the bigger picture, [...] they will make decisions in light of these facts."
Chaudhry further said no one in the media had the letter.
"Anyone claiming to have the letter is lying," he said.