What is the Issue of the “Cipher”?

Saeed A. Malik.

As soon as the government fraudulently passed the “Laws” regarding the Official Secrets Act and the amendment to the Pakistan Army Act, and the same were notified, it lost no time charging Imran Khan on the “issue of the Cipher “.
I do not know the specifics of these charges, but can guess them. So it is important to first get a fix on the “issue” and the history of the Cipher in order to understand what is happening.
The first thing we need to understand is that a Cipher is a message which is encoded before its transmission in order to ensure its confidentiality. When such a message is received, it needs to be decoded in order to be read. And when it has been decoded, it does not remain a Cipher. It becomes a memo or a letter or a message under any appropriate name. But even in the latter state it retains its security classification.
The Cipher under reference has to do with Mr Donald Lu, the U.S Assistant Secretary of State dealing with Pakistan, and his meeting with Mr Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA, on March 7, 2022.
The real substance of this meeting was a twofold message from the U.S government to the authorities in Pakistan. The gist of this message was as under:
a. That the U.S government was extremely annoyed with Imran Khan over his visit to Russia on Feb 24, 2022; for taking an “aggressively neutral” stand on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; and for generally following anti U.S policies.
b. That if the no-confidence move against Imran Khan succeeds and there was a course correction by the new Prime Minister, Pakistan could hope to regain its lost position in the affections of the U.S.
The words of Donald Lu, as quoted by our ambassador in his cable to the foreign office are: ” I think that if the no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister succeeds, all will be forgiven in Washington because the Russia visit is being looked at as a decision by the Prime Minister. Otherwise, I think it will be tough going ahead. I cannot tell how this will be seen by Europe, but I suspect their reaction will be similar.”
He made it clear that if Imran Khan remains in office he could face “isolation” by Europe and the U.S.
When the ambassador expressed the hope that the Ukraine issue will not “impact our mutual ties”, Lu responded: “I would argue that it has already created a dent in the relationship from our perspective. Let us wait for a few days to see whether the political situation changes, which would mean that we would not have a big disagreement about this issue and the dent would go away very quickly. Otherwise, we will have to confront this issue head on and decide how to manage it.”

–The minutes of this meeting were coded, marked “secret” and sent as a Cipher message to our Foreign Office on Mar 7, where it was received on March 8, 2022. After decoding, copies of this were sent to the Army Chief, the D.G ISI, but NOT TO the Prime Minister or his Foreign Minister. This “Cipher” was deliberately kept away from them till the P.M was informed of its existence by a source cited by him as anonymous. This in itself can now be seen as a part of the conspiracy against Imran Khan which has been exposed by the “Cipher” after The Intercept published it.
–The “Cipher” did not play a role in ‘operation regime change’ which was under preparation from mid 2021 onwards. At best it was a wake-up call to Bajwa who was late on his promised delivery to the US. And Bajwa reacted immediately as the following will show:
a. The same day as the Cipher was received [Mar 8, 2022] a formal debate on the no-confidence motion was initiated in the National Assembly.
b. On Apr 2, 2022 Bajwa, addressing the Islamabad Security Dialogue, openly railed against his Prime Minister’s policy on Ukraine. The message this sent to his masters was that it was a certainty that the no-confidence motion would carry. Being the coward that he was, he would not have dared to challenge his Prime Minister otherwise.
–The most significant aspect of the Cipher story is that the next day [Apr 3, 2022] Qasim Suri, the stand-in Speaker of the House, citing the Cipher, advised the President to dissolve the National Assembly. Suri’s obvious position was that the National Assembly’s motion of no-confidence was brought into play under duress by a foreign power and that therefore its legal validity stood undermined.
After all, when Donald Lu gave his message to our ambassador, it was not meant for the consumption of our Foreign Office. It was clearly not expected that after reading it, Imran Khan would pack up his bags and leave.
Action on this message had to be taken by the Opposition. But the Foreign Office is a part of the government and has NO connection with the opposition. Therefore this message could only have been meant for our Army Chief and D.G ISI. And as a result it was they who were expected to put pressure on the opposition to expedite the no-confidence motion.
The foregoing should be extremely clear. And if this is not the case, please read the same once more.
But the Supreme Court, to our eternal regret and its own abiding shame, annulled Suri’s move without examining the Cipher and its full implications. Perhaps the Court can now finally see the devastation wrought by its dereliction!
–The latest in the story of the “Cipher” is that Imran Khan has now been charged under the “Cipher” case. I have not read the concerned F.I. R but it would be a safe assumption that the case has to do with “security” issues related to the Cipher. My guess is that Imran will have been charged with:
a. Losing the Cipher which, bearing a security classification of “Secret”, was a classified document. A person losing a classified document has to be held accountable and punished.
b. More importantly Imran Khan would also be charged for exposing the contents of a “Secret” document to those unauthorized to receive the same, and so be charged under the Official Secrets Act.
So, what was so “Secret” about the Cipher, beyond the fact that it emphasized the position of the U.S government that if Pakistan was desirous of restoring normal relations with the U.S, it needed to get rid of its Prime Minister through a no-confidence motion?
And from whom was this “Secret” to be kept but from Imran Khan, the man who was to be thrown out as a consequence of the U.S demand?
And as things turned out, this WAS kept away from him till an unnamed patriot brought this matter to his attention.
So, is it the position of the government and the high command that those who criminally conspired with a foreign government to throw out a sitting Prime Minister of their country, are now charging the victim of their conspiracy for outing the “Secret” of their conspiracy?
Is this their interpretation of the “Secrecy” embedded in the Cipher, in the cause of which they are busy positioning all manner of sanctity?
Are these mental convolutions even believable?
At this point anyone should be able to establish the connection between the choreographed farce that was the May 9 incident; the “Laws” fraudulently sought to be passed regarding the Official Secrets Act and the Amendment to The Pakistan Army Act; and the “Cipher”.
The end game was to try Imran Khan under a very stringent new “law” with regard to the Official Secrets Act, and to do so in a court formed under an Amendment to The Pakistan Army Act, which will accept farcical evidence put forth by the prosecution, and deny evidence proffered by the defense. And will do all this quite “legally”!
And was it not the aim of this obvious conspiracy to destroy, far and away, the country’s most popular leader since Jinnah?
The “nobility” of this aim is matched only by the sordidness driving the minds of those dedicated to setting this trap, and by their incompetence of execution which has seen them trapping themselves each step of the way.
email: saeedakhtarmalik85@gmail.com





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