The government appointed on Friday seasoned diplomat Asad Majeed Khan — who was at the centre of the cipher controversy that PTI chief Imran Khan has for long presented as evidence of ‘a foreign conspiracy’ to oust him — as new foreign secretary.

“Dr Asad Majeed Khan, a BS-22 officer of Foreign Service of Pakistan, presently posted as Ambassador in the Embassy of Pakistan, to Belgium, the European Union and Luxembourg, is transferred and posted as Secretary, Foreign Affairs Division, with immediate effect and until further orders,” a notification issued by the Establishment Division, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, states.

Majeed had taken charge as ambassador to Belgium in April this year.

Asad had completed his three-year term as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US on Jan 11, 2022, but stayed in Washington till March 24 on the arrival of ambassador-designate Sardar Masood Khan.

He had also served in Washington as the deputy chief of mission for four years and spent six years in New York, including as a diplomat at Pakistan’s UN Mission.

The former envoy has been in the limelight for the cipher, based on his meeting with State Department official Donald Lu — that the PTI claimed was the central character in the fall of its government.

The completion of his tenure had come just days before former premier Imran Khan, who was ousted on April 10 through a no-confidence motion, brandished a letter at a public rally on March 27, claiming it contained evidence of a “foreign conspiracy” hatched to topple his government.

Imran’s allegation that the US spearheaded his exit from power was based on a cable received from Majeed, in which the envoy had reported about a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu.

Majeed, in the cable, reportedly had said that Lu warned that Imran’s continuation as the prime minister would have repercussions for bilateral relations.

The Pentagon and the State Department have repeatedly rejected the accusations, saying there was no veracity to them.

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