US halted communications with Pak after Imran Khan cipher fiasco
On 27 March 2022, Imran Khan brandished a piece of paper at a public rally and claimed it was a copy of a cipher, alleging that the US wanted him out of power
United States officials halted communications with Pakistani counterparts following former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's cipher fiasco, a senior diplomat has revealed, as per media reports.
On 27 March 2022, Imran Khan brandished a piece of paper during a public rally and portrayed it as a copy of a cipher in his speech, alleging that the US wanted him out of power.
The revelation about the US officials' communications halt was made by Faisal Tirmzi, who was additional secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, dealing with US-related matters, Geo News has reported.
He revealed the details to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as the body conducted interviews of relevant officials at the ministry and the prime minister’s office to probe the cipher case.
"The US had halted communications with us. The US asked Pakistan in writing to share the purported cipher being shown by the then PM," Tirmizi, now serving as Pakistan's ambassador to the UAE, said.
US officials told their Pakistani counterparts that they would not hold candid discussions with them if secret conversations were made part of the public discourse, Geo News reported.
The foreign office then issued an advisory to then PM Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, telling them about the repercussions of using diplomatic cables for political gains, Tirmizi said.
Imran Khan is currently in jail for "leaking the contents" of the diplomatic cable after a case was registered against him on 18 August 2023 under the Official Secrets Act 1923.
The former Pakistan prime minister's principal secretary Azam Khan also told FIA officials that the ex-premier wanted the military's help to foil the no-confidence bid against him.
The former principal secretary said Imran Khan called a meeting on 28 March (a day after displaying the cipher) and asked then foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood to read the contents of the cipher.
"I think he (Imran Khan) wanted to pressurise the military's top leadership. The former prime minister wanted the military to help him foil the no-confidence bid," Azam said, reports Geo News.