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No mention of ‘conspiracy’ or ‘threat’ in cipher, ex-envoy rebuffs Imran’s claims

Asad Majeed records statement in cipher case heard by Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain

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No mention of 'conspiracy' or 'threat' in cipher, ex-envoy rebuffs Imran's claims

ISLAMABAD: Former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States and a witness in the cipher case, Asad Majeed, said there was no mention of the words “conspiracy” and “threat” in the diplomatic cable received from the US.

The ex-envoy’s statement came on Tuesday during the hearing of the cipher case by Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain being conducted under the Special Court of Official Secrets Act, which also recorded statements by five other witnesses in the case against the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The hearing, held at the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, has been adjourned till today (Wednesday). Both Khan and Qureshi also appeared in the courtroom, while the six prosecution witnesses, including Majeed, Faisal Tirmizi and Akbar Durrani, were also present.

The former envoy said that he was the ambassador of Pakistan to the United States from January 2019 to March 2022. On March 7, 2022, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu was invited to a working lunch. It was a pre-arranged meeting hosted at Pakistan House in Washington.

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Communication took place in the meeting, so a cipher telegram was sent to the foreign secretary. The deputy head of Mission and defence attaché were also present in the meeting.

In the meeting, both sides knew that minutes of the meeting were being taken. The conversation in the meeting was reported to Islamabad in cipher telegram. There was no reference to the words “threat” or “conspiracy” in the secret cipher telegram.

Majeed further told the court that he was also called to the National Security Committee meeting. And in the meeting, it was decided to issue demarche.

“I had proposed to issue the demarche.”

He said that the cipher issue was a setback for Pakistan-US relations.

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The lawyers of the PTI founder and Qureshi will start the cross-examination of the witnesses from today. In total, the statements of 25 witnesses have been recorded in the cipher case.

Earlier, when the hearing started, Qureshi came to the rostrum and said that his nomination papers from NA-151 and PP-218 were rejected. “I had asked for confirmation of nomination papers, the judge asked me to attach his my order but the nomination papers were rejected despite judge’s order, he added.

Qureshi got angry when the prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi spoke on the occasion. The PTI leader said: “I am talking about my fundamental rights, why are you interrupting?

Qureshi said: “If you have come from above? Who are you? What is your social standing?

Abbasi replied in the same coin. The judge kept urging Qureshi to keep his calm.

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The PTI leader submitted a petition against the rejection of nomination papers. The judge said that it was his right, and the count would look into this request.

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck various parts of Punjab including Lahore on Monday 

People came out of their homes in panic and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran. No loss of life and property was reported in any part of Punjab. 

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, Islamabad, the epicentre of the earthquake was located five kilometres south of Sheikhupura at the depth of 45 kilometres.

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army has shot down a spy quadcopter of Indian Army on the Line of Control (LoC).

According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Pakistan Army (ISPR), on Monday, an Indian Air Force quadcopter spying on Pakistan was shot down.

The ISPR said that the army has found the downed quadcopter inside Pakistani territory.

It may be recalled that it is the fifth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort today. On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian fighter planes that violated Pakistani airspace. 

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

 An accountability court indicted the PTI founder and his wife Bushra Bibi in the ill-famous 190 million pound case – also previously known as Al-Qadir Trust case – as the judge, Nasir Javed Rana, held hearing at the Adiala jail.

All the cases involving the former PTI chairman are being heard at the jail premises – where he is imprisoned – because of the security threats, for which Bushra Bibi was shifted from her Bani Gala residence where she is serving her sentences in two cases – Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

Meanwhile, her husband has so far been convicted in three cases – cipher, Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

During the proceedings, the two accused pleaded not guilty, as the judge adjourned proceedings till March 6 while also summoning five witnesses to record their statements on next hearing.

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However, the accountability court accepted two pleas filed by the PTI founder, requesting permission for an appointment with his dentist and general physician.

Previously, the indictment had been postponed on several occasions due to the absence of Mohammad Bashir – the accountability court judge who is set to retire on March 14 and has applied for leave preparatory to retirement (LPR).

However, the law ministry last week appointed District and Sessions Judge Rana as an Accountability Court No 1 Islamabad judge to replace Bashir who went on leave on deputation for a period of three years. 

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