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 News reported on Wednesday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“You will get the rights you have,” the court added.