Imran, Shah Mehmood Qureshi Accused Of 'Using Cipher For Ulterior Motives': FIR

Copy of FIA's FIR surfaces on Saturday, detailing the charges

Imran, Shah Mehmood Qureshi Accused Of 'Using Cipher For Ulterior Motives': FIR

The FIR where the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and former foreign minister and PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under the Official Secrets Act over the misuse of the classified cipher and its disappearance, surfaced on Saturday.

The FIR was registered on a complaint filed by the Interior Ministry's secretary. The FIR was lodged after Qureshi's reported meeting with envoys of various countries last week.

The FIR, which is dated August 15 but only emerged on Saturday after Qureshi's arrest, stated that an enquiry by the Counter Terrorism Wing of the FIA from October 2022 found that former prime minister Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and their other associates were involved in the communication of information contained in a secret, classified document which had been received on March 7, 2022, from Washington.

The FIA said that the contents of the document (the cipher) were communicated to unauthorized people (i.e. public at large) by "twisting the facts to achieve their ulterior motives and personal gains in a manner prejudicial to the interests of state security".

Further, the FIR stated that Imran, Qureshi and others held a clandestine meeting at the former's mansion in Bani Gala on March 28, 2022, a conspiracy was hatched to misuse the contents of the cipher to accomplish nefarious designs.

"The accused Imran Khan malafidely directed the former Secretary to the PM Muhammad Azam Khan to prepare the minutes (Record Note) of the said clandestine meeting by manipulating the contents of cipher message to use it for their vested interest at the cost of national safety, the complaint read, adding that the numbered and accountable copy of cipher telegram sent to PM Office was deliberately kept in the custody of the former prime minister Imran Khan, with mala fide intentions, and was never returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The said Cypher Telegram (Official Secret Document classified as such) is still in the illegal possession/ retention of the accused Imran Khan," the FIR stated, adding that The unauthorized retention and misuse of the Cipher Telegram constitutes a crime.

Imran had been charged under Section 5 of the recently modified law. 

Offences under Section 5, if proved in a court of law, involve punishment of imprisonment from two to 14 years and, in some cases, even a death sentence.

The role of others involved, including Asad Umar and Azam Khan, to be determined during the investigation.