Qureshi fails to appear before FIA again

The lawyer representing PTI Vice President Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday appeared before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) at its headquarters in connection with its inquiry into the leaked audio recordings about the US cypher, but its interrogators told him that they had summoned the former foreign minister in his personal capacity.

The FIA had also summoned PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan on Thursday in connection with the same matter.

The lawyer told the FIA team that his client was participating in the PTI’s long march and injured there in a gun attack.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI chief too was shot in his leg in the attack carried out in Punjab’s Wazirabad.

The FIA told the lawyer that it had called Qureshi personally after which the latter left the agency’s headquarters.

Sources said the FIA was expected to issue summon notices to Imran and Qureshi again.

Qureshi was supposed to appear before the agency on Tuesday, but he neither came to the FIA headquarters, nor informed his reasons for being unable to approach its team before the working hours of the office were over.

On the instructions of the interior ministry, the FIA director general had formed a team led by the agency’s Islamabad Zone Director Rana Abdul Jabbar, to investigate the audio leaks controversy.

The other members of the inquiry body included the FIA’s Cyber Crime Islamabad additional director, Counter Terrorism Wing deputy director, assistant director investigation officer, and officer members selected by the committee head.

The investigation team also included Grade-19 officers from three intelligence agencies.

A federal cabinet’s subcommittee had given an official nod last month to initiate legal action against the PTI chairman.

In September as well as the previous month, a string of audio recordings, purportedly that of the PTI chief having conversations with his political aides on the US cypher – the one which the ex-prime minister claimed was a part of the “foreign conspiracy” to oust his government, had been leaked on social media by unidentified sources.

In one of them, Imran could be heard telling his then principal secretary Azam Khan about using the classified diplomatic cable for political purposes.

“We have to play with this. Don’t take America’s name, just play with this,” the PTI chief allegedly said in the audio clip.

To this, a second voice, claimed to be that of Azam, advised him that a meeting be held on the subject first.

“See, if you recall, in that [cypher] the ambassador has written in the end to [send a] demarche,” Azam allegedly responded.

“Even if the demarche is not to be sent, as I have thought a lot about it at night — you [Imran] said they raised it — I thought about how to cover all this,” he added.
Azam allegedly further advised Imran to hold a meeting with then foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the foreign secretary.

Separately, the FIA Lahore has summoned Imran on November 7 to investigate the prohibited account case.

The notice issued to the PTI chief read that he had told the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that his party had nothing to do with the bank account in Lahore.

However, the authorisation letter of Imran was attached to the opening form of the account.

According to sources, the FIA Lahore has summoned the PTI chief for an explanation.

The FIA has already interrogated several PTI leaders in connection with the prohibited account case.

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