Cyphergate: Qureshi was questioned by the FIA ​​for almost 2 hours

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressing a press conference in Islamabad on July 24, 2023. This still is taken from a video.  - Youtube/GeoNews
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressing a press conference in Islamabad on July 24, 2023. This still is taken from a video. – Youtube/GeoNews
  • Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar interrogated by FIA.
  • 3 officers of intelligence agencies were also present.
  • PTI VC says, “Cypher is a reality and was a reality.”

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi was questioned for nearly two hours on Monday by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) during its probe into the controversial US ciphers.

Qureshi appeared before an eight-member team headed by FIA Islamabad zone director Rana Abdul Jabbar, as he was called – because of his position as foreign minister during PTI’s tenure. He is one of the central characters in the cyber saga.

Officers from various FIA wings and one Grade-19 officer each from three different intelligence institutes were also present during the interrogation of the PTI vice-chairman.

Former PTI General Secretary Asad Umar also appeared before the FIA ​​team. PTI Chairman Imran Khan has also been summoned on July 25 (tomorrow).

The Cipher investigation gained momentum after the Lahore High Court withdrew the stay order on the summons to the former prime minister, and a day later, Khan’s then Principal Secretary Azam Khan “recorded” a statement, terming the American Cipher a “conspiracy” used by the former prime minister to “manipulate to create a narrative against the establishment and the opposition”.


Speaking to the media after the questioning, the PTI vice-chairman told reporters that the controversial US cipher is a “reality” and the National Security Committee (NSC) – the country’s top security apparatus – has accepted it.

Qureshi told reporters that he was questioned for about two hours, during which he answered questions “honestly” and presented his side of the story.

Qureshi, a close aide of PTI chairman Imran Khan, said, “I have said this before: Cipher is a reality and was a reality. Serious people, who were not part of my party, claimed it was a political drama.”

cable gate

The controversy first surfaced on March 27, 2022, when Imran – days before he was voted out of power – presented a letter, which he claimed was from a foreign nation, mentioning that his government should be removed from power.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter or name the country that sent it. But a few days later, he named America and said that Donald Lu, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, has demanded his removal.

The cipher was about the meeting of former Pakistan Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed with Lu.

The former prime minister claimed that he was reading material from the cipher, adding that “all is forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power”.

Then on 31 March, the NSC took up the matter and decided to issue a “stern demarche” to the country for “blatant interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs”.

Later, after his ouster, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif convened a meeting of the NSC, which concluded that it had found no evidence of a foreign conspiracy in the cipher.

Months later, two audio leaks took the internet by storm and shocked the public following these events. The former prime minister, then federal minister Asad Umar and then principal secretary Azam can reportedly be heard discussing the US cipher and how to use it to their advantage.

On 30 September, the federal cabinet took note of the matter and constituted a committee to examine the contents of the audio leak.

In October, the cabinet gave the go-ahead to initiate action against the former prime minister and handed over the case to the FIA.

Once the FIA ​​was tasked with probing the matter, it summoned Khan, Omar and other party leaders, but the PTI chief challenged the summons and obtained a stay order from the court.

On 18 July, the Lahore High Court withdrew the stay order against the call-up notice to Khan by the FIA.

The FIA ​​then issued summons to Khan, Umar and Qureshi.

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