Pakistan arrests opposition leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi in ‘cypher’ case
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former Pakistan foreign minister and a close aide of imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan, has been detained after officials accused him of misusing a diplomatic cable for political gain.
Khan had claimed that America was behind a conspiracy to topple his government as he tapped into anti-American sentiment to mobilise support ahead of a no-confidence vote last April. He resigned after losing the vote, and later said he was aware of a secret cable known as the “cypher” that showed America was behind his ouster.
The former prime minister never revealed the content of the cable and later walked back on his allegations against America. Earlier this month, the Intercept, a U.S.-based media organisation, published the content of the “cypher”, which suggests the American administration wanted to remove the former prime minister from power last April.
Qureshi’s arrest at the weekend came hours after he held a news conference, announcing that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party would challenge any delay to the country’s election in the courts and demanded a “level playing field” in the country’s upcoming general elections.
He has been leading the PTI since Khan’s arrest earlier this month. Thousands of its members, including top leadership, have been arrested in a crackdown since May apparently at the behest of Pakistan’s powerful military.
Pakistan’s interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the PTI vice president was arrested in connection with the “cypher” case and his alleged role in exposing official secrets and harming state interests.
“All those nominated in the case will be arrested as per the law,” Bugti said.
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