Intelligence agencies' job is country's security, not 'political engineering': Imran

Published October 3, 2022
PTI chief Imran Khan in an interview with journalist Moeed Pirzada aired on 92 News. — screengrab
PTI chief Imran Khan in an interview with journalist Moeed Pirzada aired on 92 News. — screengrab

PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday said that the job of intelligence agencies was to secure the country and not “political engineering” as he stressed that the recent spate of audio leaks — featuring conversations between incumbent and former government-linked officials — was a “very serious lapse”.

Imran passed these remarks in an interview with journalist Moeed Pirzada aired on 92 News.

“Our intelligence agencies should think of themselves […] what are you doing […] you are threatening people on social media […] this is not your real job […] political engineering is not your job, your job is to secure the country,” he said.

The PTI chief’s statement comes after a steady stream of audio recordings surfaced of late, of allegedly candid conversations never meant to be heard by the public, of government figures in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The most recent audios purportedly feature conversations between the PTI chief and his former ministers and principal secretary about a cipher that he has for long presented as evidence of a “foreign conspiracy” to oust him from office.

Last week, a slew of audio recordings of conversations between key government figures — including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and some members of the federal cabinet — were released as well raising an all-our national security concern.

Responding to a question regarding the leaks today, Imran said that the most important thing in the fiasco was the tapping of the telephone connection of the highest office in the country.

“This means that these audios will reach enemies as well,” he highlighted. “The point is that they would include so many more things, which may not be important for domestic politics, but might include state secrets.

“And the next question is that our security agencies […] someone will have to ask that who is responsible for such a security breach,” the former premier said.

This should be understood, he went on, that this was a very serious security lapse for our country.

‘Won’t reveal details of long march beforehand’

When asked about PTI’s upcoming long march, Imran said that an “unimaginable” sea of people will march toward Islamabad.

“It will be the biggest in the history of Pakistan and no one can picture what will happen. But I won’t tell exactly what will happen,” he said, adding that only a close group of people knew the details.

“Everything we say is leaked […] our phones are tapped […] for the first time I am feeling as if I am a traitor of the country whose being tapped,” the PTI chief added.

‘Master copy of cipher at Foreign Office’

Talking about the cipher, which the government has claimed is missing from the PM’s Office, Imran said that its master copy was in the Foreign Office.

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

“The master copy [of the cipher] first comes to the Foreign Office and then its copies are sent to the prime minister, president and the army chief,” he elaborated.

The PTI chief said that during his tenure, the copies of the cipher were sent to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and then the National Assembly speaker. “But the opposition refused to see the copy because they were a part of the conspiracy.

“Read the minutes of our last cabinet meeting, we have declassified the cipher […] the government cannot hold any proceedings on it,” he said, alleging that PM Shehbaz was a “beneficiary” of the foreign conspiracy.

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