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FIA arrests PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi in cipher probe

Vice Chairman of PTI Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday was arrested from his residence in Islamabad in connection with an investigation into cipher which PTI alleges contained the threat from the United States to oust Imran Khan from power.

Speaking on TV programme , Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti confirmed that Qureshi was taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).The caretaker security czar said Qureshi was arrested as he was nominated in the cipher case.

The PTI has also confirmed that the party leader was arrested from his residence and is being moved to the FIA headquarters in the federal capital.

The arrest came shortly after Qureshi addressed a presser wherein he dispelled the reports of infighting between party leaders to replace incarcerated party chief Imran Khan.

The PTI has also confirmed that the party leader was arrested from his residence and moved to the FIA headquarters in the federal capital.

The FIA sources said the PTI leader has been arrested in light of the statement of party chief Khan related to the cipher probe.

The development came only two days after PTI chief Khan, who has been imprisoned in Attock Jail, following conviction in Toshakhana case named in a first information report (FIR) registered by the FIA under Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act 1923 in the cipher case, The News reported quoting sources.

The counter-terrorism wing of the FIA had registered the case against the former prime minister — who was ousted from office after a no-confidence motion in April last year — after ascertaining his deliberate involvement in misusing the classified document following a probe.

The government sources had also confirmed that the PTI chief has been booked under Section 5 of the recently-amended act. However, authorities displayed reluctance in sharing a copy of the FIR.

Earlier in July this year, the FIA grilled Qureshi and PTI leader Asad Umar for nearly two hours in connection with the probe into controversial US cipher.

Qureshi time and again has reiterated that the US cipher was reality, backing the party chief’s claims that the US engineered his ouster from power by supporting then opposition’s no-confidence motion in April last year.

The cipher case against the former premier became serious after his principal secretary Azam Khan stated before a magistrate as well as the FIA that the former PM had used the US cipher for his ‘political gains’ and to avert a vote of no-confidence against him.

The former bureaucrat, in his confession, said when he provided the ex-premier with the cipher, he was “euphoric” and termed the language a “US blunder”. The former prime minister, according to Azam, then said that the cable could be used for “creating a narrative against establishment and opposition”.

Azam said the US cipher was used in political gatherings by the PTI chairman, despite his advice to him to avoid such acts. He mentioned that the former prime minister also told him that the cipher could be used to divert the public’s attention towards “foreign involvement” in the opposition’s no-confidence motion.