Bilawal says cipher case against Imran ‘major national security breach’, merits investigation

Published December 24, 2023
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talks to the media in Larkana on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talks to the media in Larkana on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday said the cipher case against former prime minister Imran Khan was a very “serious issue” that merited an investigation since it was a “major national security breach”.

The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) charge sheet alleges was never returned by Imran. The PTI has long held that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran as prime minister.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had granted Imran and ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi bail in the case.

Asked about the development while talking to the media in Larkana after submitting his nomination papers, Bilawal said it was visible that Imran was getting “relief” in the case.

“The cipher case is a very serious case. I cannot be in favour of political retribution against a politician because our party and family have suffered and we would not want the same for our opponents. But the cipher case is a very serious issue,” he said.

Bilawal gave the example of former US president Donald Trump, who has been indicted over his handling of classified documents after leaving office. Bilawal said the US government had raided Trump’s home to retrieve the documents.

“Pakistan’s classified documents are the property of the state. We face a national security threat if these documents are somehow leaked. So there should be a full investigation on the cipher and the reality should be before the public and the nation since this was a major national security breach,” he said.

Bilawal said that based on his experience as a foreign minister, every cipher had only limited copies — one for the FM, one for the premier and sometimes for security agencies if required.

He said all the copies in the cipher case had been accounted for except for the prime minister’s copy.

“Khan sahib has admitted on television that he misplaced it and the day of his arrest, that cipher was leaked to the internal media. This is a very serious issue and the court should take it as seriously as any other issue on which questions of national security are raised,” he said.

Bilawal said the government should pursue a thorough investigation on the matter and a judicial inquiry should also be ordered to determine the facts of the case.

On a question about an alliance with the PTI, Bilawal said the PPP would contest the February 8 general election on the basis of its own strength and there was no alliance as yet with any other party.

However, he did say there was “ample scope” for the PPP to work together with political workers since “we are the only political party that believes in democracy and not political vendettas.”

Bilawal said he had submitted his nomination papers from Larkana, Lahore and Qambar Shahdadkot, adding that the PPP would fully participate in the elections due to the current issues plaguing the country.

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