'Jailed Qureshi hopeful for justice after IHC judges letter'

“Qureshi is very hopeful and seeing justice being done in country,” says daughter

By Shabbir Dar
April 11, 2024
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi leaving Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office after the decision of former prime minister Imran Khan in Toshakhana case on October 21, 2022 in Islamabad. — Online

RAWALPINDI: Incarcerated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s daughter Shehrbano Qureshi said Thursday that the "brave step" of six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges to write a letter on alleged interference of intelligence agencies in the judicial matters boosted the morale of her father.

Shehrbano, speaking to journalists outside Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail after meeting her father today, said that she also met Qureshi last Monday and he was in good health.


“Qureshi is very hopeful and seeing justice being done in the country,” the PTI leader said, adding that the bravery showed by six judges of the IHC boosted the courage of her father — who alongside the party founder Imran Khan is facing 10-year jail term in the cipher case.

She expressed her thoughts that they want to see a strong and stable Pakistan despite going through a tough time.

Regarding the case against the former foreign minister, Shehrbano said that appeals against Qureshi’s sentences in the cipher case would be heard on April 16.

The politico expressed hopes that the prosecution would not find more excuses in the next hearings. She claimed that the prosecution has no concrete arguments left in the cipher case.

In January, a special court judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain had sentenced Khan and Qureshi to 10 years, each, in the cipher case.

The case pertains to allegations that the former prime minister had made public contents of a secret cable sent by the country's ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad.

The FIA, in its challan, sought trial and sentence of the former prime minister and the former foreign minister as they were found guilty in the matter.

Both politicians had pleaded not guilty to their involvement in the offence related to the alleged misuse of diplomatic cable for political purposes.

What is ciphergate?

The controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Khan — less than a month before his ouster in April 2022 — while addressing a public rally waved a letter before the crowd, claiming that it was a cipher from a foreign nation that had conspired with his political rivals to have PTI government overthrown.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor did he mention the name of the nation it came from. But a few days later, he accused the United States of conspiring against him and alleged that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal.

The cipher was about former Pakistan ambassador to the US Majeed's meeting with Lu.

The former prime minister, claiming that he was reading contents from the cipher, said that "all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power".

Then on March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) took up the matter and decided to issue a "strong demarche" to the US for its "blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan".

Later, after his removal, then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif convened a meeting of the NSC, which came to the conclusion that it had found no evidence of a foreign conspiracy in the cable.

In the two audio leaks that took the internet by storm and shocked the public after these events, the former prime minister, then-federal minister Asad Umar, and then-principle secretary Azam could allegedly be heard discussing the US cipher and how to use it to their advantage.