Bani Gala should be raided to recover ‘missing cipher copy’: Maryam advises govt

Published October 1, 2022
PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz and Ishaq Dar address a press conference in Lahore on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz and Ishaq Dar address a press conference in Lahore on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Saturday said that former prime minister Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence should be raided to recover the “missing” copy of a diplomatic cipher that carries the details of the purported “foreign conspiracy” against his now fallen government.

The cipher, based on then-envoy Asad Majeed’s meeting with State Department official Donald Lu, has been at the centre of PTI’s claim that the US conspired with elements within Pakistan to dislodge Imran from the top office.

Friday’s federal cabinet meeting was informed that the copy of the diplomatic cipher was “missing” from Prime Minister House records. A handout issued after a meeting of the cabinet declared that the “theft” of diplomatic cipher records is an “unforgivable crime” and a violation of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

After detailed deliberations, the cabinet had formed a special committee which would determine the legal action to be taken against all those involved, including the ex-premier, ex-principal secretary to prime minister and senior ministers.

The cabinet was told that the act was an “unpardonable crime” against the state which was tantamount to prioritising political interests over key state interests. The meeting participants were informed that the record of the receipt of the cipher was available with the relevant department, but the diplomatic cable was missing.

Addressing the matter in a press conference in Lahore today, Maryam said: “You heard that the cipher went missing from Prime Minister House. I think there should be a raid on Bani Gala from where you will know where the cipher copy went and what the real minutes, letter and communique were.”

Maryam said Imran had the “letter” to wave it in rallies but “does not have it to show it to the people”. “You played with the country while playing your games,” she added.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar alleged that former principal secretary Azam Khan has admitted to having handed over the cipher copy to Imran.

Dar said it was now “established” through the audio leaks that the former opposition — now the government — was not responsible for any conspiracy, but rather the PTI was. “We will be failing in national duty and oath if we don’t take appropriate action,” he added.

The finance minister said the matter was not something which could be ignored, adding that “whoever did this is not pardonable”.

“We will be betraying the Constitution if we don’t take it to the logical conclusion. So the decision is we will take the matter forward in light of the law and Constitution.”

The finance minister also lambasted the PTI government for its economic performance and attributed the country’s present woes to its decision, saying that it would take time for him to fix things.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the issue would be raised in parliament and expressed the hope that the body would decide to file an Article 6 reference against Imran.

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