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Saturday November 26, 2022

Imran’s audio

By Editorial Board
September 29, 2022

There is a brand new audio 'leak' – this time featuring former prime minister Imran Khan supposedly in conversation with his then principal secretary about the 'foreign conspiracy' behind the vote of no-confidence. For months, the PTI has been repeating its 'foreign conspiracy' mantra: how the US and the PDM – and 'powerful' quarters -- got together to overthrow an 'independent' Imran. The audio leak however twists the tale differently – how Imran seemed to wish to 'play' the cipher to his advantage. Since the cipher is classified information, the plan, as it were, was apparently – per the leaked audio – to somehow make the contents of the cipher part of government record by calling a meeting of the then foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and foreign secretary so that Qureshi could read out the contents of the letter which could then be converted into minutes of the meeting.

With such a clear plan to use a classified Foreign Office dispatch for political purposes, one would think this may be the final straw for the PTI and perhaps Imran's shine would wane a bit. But, as is usual, the PTI spin is in: this time, the party has said the audio leak in fact proves Imran's narrative: that a cipher existed. This is bizarre logic, especially when the veracity of the cipher had never been questioned. In fact, in the two NSC meetings it was quite clearly stated that there was indeed a communication between Pakistan’s ambassador and an official of the US, which had undiplomatic language, but there was no mention of a conspiracy whatsoever. But the PTI will have none of something as irrelevant as facts. More so, the PTI is also going right back to its original claim that the existence of the cipher was hidden from the PM, and demanding the cipher be 'leaked' too.

Even though PTI supporters cannot be expected to give much thought to how damaging this audio leak is for Imran and how it proves that the PTI resorted to setting on fire the country’s foreign relations, the party leadership knows it very well despite denials. Is this why the party has attempted to somewhat improve its own relations with the US? More than that, though, it is disturbing to see that – whatever be the spin – the PTI would rather choose a path of destruction than negotiation; of conflict rather than reconciliation; and conspiracy rather than conceding defeat.

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