• Tahir Ashrafi verify contents of second audio.
  • Ashrafi says he was present in the meeting. 
  • He says PTI leaders should be questioned. 

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, who served as ex-prime minister Imran Khan’s aide during PTI’s government, Friday confirmed the authenticity of the latest leaked audio on the diplomatic cypher, saying he was present in the meeting where the top PTI guns discussed the cable.

Speaking on the Geo News programme “Jirga”, Ashrafi suggested the most important persons in the PTI government should be asked if there was a conspiracy against the former premier.

Another purported audio clip of the PTI chairman and his team leaked on social media a few days after a sound bite allegedly telling his then-principal secretary Azam Khan to “play” with the US cypher came to the surface.

The latest 1.09-minute audio clip purportedly features Khan, Asad Umar, Azam, and Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Although Khan strictly advised his aides against naming the US, he himself named it. The ex-PM allegedly could be heard discussing the cypher with the party leaders.

Ashrafi — who was a special representative to the former PM on religious harmony — said that five top ministers of Khan’s cabinet should tell on oath if they were sure of the US regime change conspiracy against their government.

He said that he was present in the meeting on the cable whose discussion was leaked in the second audio leak.

Ashrafi said PM Khan, referring to the cypher, told the participants of the briefing he had a “terrific thing”, and he would play with it.

Ashrafi also confirmed the former PM told the participants they would call it a letter, as people could not understand what a cypher was. 

The former PM said he would not like anyone to name the US while talking about the regime change conspiracy, but then he himself named the US impulsively, Ashrafi remarked.

How could a Grade-22 officer dare say he would change the cypher, asked Ashrafi.

If there was any system in Pakistan that would take that person to the task, he questioned. The programme will go on air on Saturday.

Cypher missing

Meanwhile, the federal cabinet Friday declared that Khan and his associates violated the Official Secret Act with regard to the “Diplomatic Cypher” and also decided to probe the matter through the cabinet’s special committee.

The committee would recommend action against those responsible for the criminal act.

The federal cabinet backed the National Security Committee’s (NSC) decision which recommended an investigation into the matter by a high-powered committee.

The cabinet, however, observed that the recent audio leaks also exposed the criminal conspiracy of Khan, his principal secretary and others.

During the briefing, it was disclosed that a copy of the diplomatic cypher was missing from the record of the PM Office.

The meeting was informed that there was a record of receiving a copy of the cypher during the PTI government but now it was missing.

After detailed consultations, it was decided to constitute a special committee of the cabinet to recommend legal action against the former prime minister, his principal secretary and involved then senior ministers.

The committee will comprise representatives from the government’s coalition parties and ministers for foreign affairs, interior and law.

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