Wednesday May 22, 2024

Keep me in jail but release all PTI workers, says incarcerated Imran Khan

PTI founder demands fresh inquiry after Donald Lu rebuffs "cipher conspiracy"

By Web Desk
March 26, 2024
PTI founder Imran Khan after appearing at the Lahore High Court on March 17, 2023. — AFP
PTI founder Imran Khan after appearing at the Lahore High Court on March 17, 2023. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: As a gesture of sacrifice and goodwill, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan Tuesday asked the authorities to keep him in prison but release all his party leaders and workers from the jails.

The former prime minister made the remarks while talking to journalists in Rawalpindi's Adiala jail.  

Khan demanded a fresh inquiry into the United States Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu’s statement denying "cipher conspiracy" that US engineered his ouster from power by supporting the then opposition’s no-confidence motion in April 2022.

Testifying before a Congressional panel last week, the top US diplomat said: “I wanna be very clear on this point [that] this conspiracy theory is a lie [and] it is a complete falsehood.”

Khan denied the reports that the US envoy met him in the prison. He said that he would speak to the US envoy about Lu’s statement and the alleged role of the US embassy in the ciphergate if he met him.

“The original copy of cipher is with the Foreign Office, we were only given a paraphrased copy [of the document],” the former premier said while referring to the allegations that he misplaced the classified cipher document that he received as the prime minister.

The PTI founder said that a prime minister is “not the security guard” of his office; instead, there are some security protocols for the PM office.

Khan also called for a separate judicial commission to investigation into May 9 incidents and February 8 elections.

“A political party is being eliminated on the pretext of May 9 events,” he added.

The former prime minister said that the president and Senate elections have no value after a “rigged” election.

During a hearing titled ‘Pakistan After the elections: Examining the future of Democracy in Pakistan and the US Pakistan relationship,’ last week, the US assistant secretary as the key witness said: "At no point does it [cipher] accuse the United States government or me personally of taking steps against Imran Khan.”

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan has termed Donald Lu’s statement on ciphergate a “lie”, and demanded a reopening inquiry into the controversy.

Reacting to the US assistant secretary of state’s testimony before a Congressional panel, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan on March 21 termed Lu’s statement on ciphergate a “lie”, and demanded reopening inquiry into the controversy.

The cipher 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 sent by then Pakistan's ambassador to US Asad Majeed.

‘Powerful will be responsible if anything happens to Imran Khan’

PTI Chairman Gohar has said that the life of party’s founding chairman Khan, who remains incarcerated at Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, is in danger, and if anything happens, the "powerful people" will be held responsible.

“People in power will be responsible for [any harm] to PTI founder’s life,” Gohar said while talking to the media after a meeting with the former prime minister in the prison.

Referring to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah’s past remarks, Gohar said that the former interior minister had said “either Imran Khan will remain or we will remain”.

He said that the party has filed complaints against Sanaullah in Karachi as well.

Sharing details of his meeting with PTI founding chairman, Barrister Gohar said that they discussed the Senate elections and Zulfi Bukhari’s name has been finalised.

Allama Nasir Abbas will be the candidate for Punjab’s seat in the upper house of the parliament in case there is an objection on Bukhari’s name, he added.

He further stated that Faiz Rehman and Shafqat Ayaz’s names have been finalised for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) seats, Azam Swati on technocrat’s seat.

Speaking about the ongoing trial of PTI founder in the £190 million case, Gohar said that the cross-examination on the seventh witness was underway who has admitted before the court that Khan did not benefit and “the state was not harmed” from the deal.

Gohar said that PTI was trying to claim its mandate and will launch a special election campaign for by-election on 12 seats in Punjab and three seats in KP.