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  • US again rebuffed allegations levelled by chairman PTI regarding cypher narrative

    U.S State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller File Photo U.S State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller

    The State Department again rebuffed the allegations levelled by chairman PTI regarding the US cypher following fresh claims by a close aide of the ex-prime minister.

    U.S State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller was asked to comment on the confessional statement recorded by Azam Khan — ex-principal secretary — before a magistrate in which he blamed his boss for manipulating the cable for his political goals and building an anti-establishment narrative.

    It coincided with a similar comment by a US Department official who had termed the whole cypher thing with Pakistan “fake”.

    “So there is a lot of similarities between the deputy assistant secretary and the Pakistani interior minister. So the cypher was fake, basically?”

    To this, Miller said: "I don’t know how many times I can respond to this question from the podium and give the same answer, which is that these allegations, such as they are, are completely unfounded."

    The US official skipped answering when posed another question regarding sedition charges on Imran on the basis of the confession made by his former aide.

    “I will take your word for it.”

    Miller also clarified that the US doesn’t get involved in domestic political issues and doesn’t take sides on political parties in Pakistan or any other country.

    On Wednesday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the government would initiate criminal proceedings against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman on charges of exposing official secrets.

    The decision was taken after Azam recorded a court statement before a judicial official under section 164 of the CrPC.

    The PTI chief lost power in a vote of no confidence in April 2022, in which he said Washington got involved after he visited Moscow.

    Former PM and chairman PTI, ousted via a parliamentary vote in April last year, had alleged on March 27, 2022, that Washington orchestrated a plan to remove him from office — and brandished the cypher at a public rally to back his claims. The US has time and again denied such allegations, terming them "categorically false".

    Chairman PTI travelled to Moscow on the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

    Sanaullah said the principal secretary also testified that chairman PTI told him he had lost the copy of the letter when he was asked for its return.

    "It is a crime to expose an official secret," the interior minister said, adding the state will be filing the charges in the court against chairman PTI.

    "I don't think he lost the copy. He still has it. It has to be recovered from him," he said.

    Chairman PTI said he did not believe his former secretary could testify against him. "I will not accept it as long as I don't hear it from him directly," he told reporters after a court hearing in another case.