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Friday June 14, 2024

US media report on cipher: Rana Sanaullah for probe into authenticity of source document

The news report claims that the cypher documents US pressure to remove ex-PM Khan

By News Desk & Wajid Ali Syed 
August 10, 2023
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan. — PID/File
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan. — PID/File

ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON: Outgoing Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Wednesday called for an investigation to determine the authenticity of the source document used in a news report by a foreign publication claiming to contain evidence of a US conspiracy to topple Imran Khan’s government.

In a conversation with The News, he also raised questions about who provided the document to the publication, considering Khan had claimed that he had lost his copy of the cypher long ago.

The news report claims that the cypher documents US pressure to remove ex-PM Khan. The publication also claims to be in possession of the document.

“Though there is nothing new in this story, the investigation needs to be held to establish the authenticity of the information or source document. Potentially, it is a very sinister, treacherous, and seditious act,” Sanaullah said in a series of tweets posted late Wednesday night.

“It should not be forgotten that Imran Khan Niazi had a copy of the cypher, which he has not returned and has accepted (on record) that he misplaced or lost it. If proven guilty, Khan should be tried under the Official Secret Act,” he wrote.

“It is reported to be a Pakistani document. I can’t speak to whether it’s an actual Pakistani document or not. Just simply don’t know,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, responding to a question during a press briefing in Washington.

“With respect to comments that were reported, I am not gonna speak to private diplomatic exchanges, other than to say that even if those comments were accurate as reported, they in no way show the United States taking a position on who the leader of Pakistan ought to be.”

Miller further said that the US expressed its concern privately, as well as publicly, to the government of Pakistan about the visit of then prime minister Imran Khan to Moscow on the very day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We made that concern quite clear, but as the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States himself has stated, the allegations that the United States has interfered in the internal decisions about the leadership of Pakistan are false, as we have stated they are false, they have always been false and they remain false,” he maintained.

The State Department spokesperson said that without stipulating whether it was an accurate comment or not, “if you take all the comments in context that were reported in that purported cable, I think what they show is that the United States government expressing concern about the policy choices that the prime minister was taking”. He stressed again that it was not in any way the US government expressing a preference who the leadership of Pakistan ought to be.

Responding to another question if it was correct that the substance of this report and the purported Pakistani cable back to Islamabad is accurate, but it is not that the US was saying that then prime minister Khan has to or should leave office. The spokesperson said: “Close-ish”.

“I cannot speak to the veracity of this document,” Miller explained, “even if those comments were all a hundred percent accurate as reported, which I do not know them to be. They do not in any way show a representative of the State Department taking a position on leadership.”

The followup question how other countries might think when the US weighs in - even in a way like this - that it (US) is taking a position, Miller added: “I can understand how those comments, number one, could be taken out of context, and, number two, how people might desire for them to be taken out of context. They might try to use them to advance an agenda that has not representative by itself.”

Asked if that was happening in this case too, the spokesperson said, “A number of people have taken them out of context for political purposes. I won’t speak to intentions, but I think that’s what’s happening.”