Cypher saga and need of the nation

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has recently said that the reported confession of ex-principal secretary Azam Khan was a charge sheet against the former Prime Minister and PTI Chief Imran Khan. During a media interaction in Islamabad on Wednesday, the Interior Minister claimed that the narrative behind the cipher which the PTI chief has for long presented as evidence of a foreign conspiracy to oust him from the top office was fabricated. According to him, the former Principal Secretary’s statement has clearly revealed who conspired against this country and damaged foreign policy interests, and played a game for his personal/ political interests on the one hand and pushed the national economy into a crisis on the other. The Interior Minister demanded stern punishment for the individuals who bartered national interests and confessed their crimes afterward. He said that making a classified document public and retaining sensitive documents in one’s possession unauthorizedly is a grave crime that has been previously committed by former US President Donald Trump who faced court proceedings and conviction afterward.

The saga of the cipher conspiracy has rebirthed after the close associate and then principal Secretary of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared before the court and offered his statement in front of a magistrate. Allegedly, the former Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and then Foreign Minister and PTI Senior Vice President Shah Mahmood Qureshi hatched the cipher scam to use it to their advantage against their political opponents as well as against the military establishment in the aftermath of a no-confidence motion against the former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Previously, the issue of foreign conspiracy had been covered up by both the PTI and PML-N-led coalition governments by mere deliberation in the National Security Council Meetings and condemnation of foreign interference in the domestic affairs of the country. Both times, vague and politically motivated statements had been issued by the top National forum that deals with sensitive matters pertaining to the national security and sovereignty of the country. Meanwhile, no serious efforts had ever been made by both regimes to unearth facts behind the cipher scam and conspiracy theory rather both contesting parties used this issue for politics and point-scoring. Currently, the ruling PDM regime intends to charge sheet former Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan for tempering/ misusing an official sensitive document and illegally retaining classified documents in his personal custody after relinquishing his office about a year ago. Interestingly, it is the same case under which former Nationalist American President Donald J Trump had been convicted by the court in the recent months.

The state and the people of Pakistan have endured dreadful political choas in the past year after the PDM coalition moved a no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Imran Khan in early 2022, which gave birth to the so-called cipher conspiracy that not only further polluted the domestic political environment but also undermined Pakistan’s foreign relations with the United States. The persistent political dogfight pushed the country into severe economic challenges, while both warring factions used those conditions and economic turmoil for political purposes and defamation/propaganda campaigns agaisnt each other. In fact, the past year’s political battle was primarily about the election controversy as the PTI and its allies demanded early elections while the PDM coalition had been pushing for the completion of the parliamentary term to announce all-out polls in the country. Currently, the election season has arrived and the caretaker setup is due the next month. The public is hopeful about the positive outcome of a fresh polls while major political parties have launched their election campaign ahead of decisive competition in the coming months.

As a reminder to the combative politicians, the Pakistani nation has faced utmost economic, monetary, social and moral depletion during the irresponsible and selfish wrangling between the ruling PDM coalition and the opposition over the past year. The political groups have left nothing undisputed in this country, every national institution ranging from Pak Military to Election Commission and the Judiciary to Parliament had been made controversial by the politicians. Even, the flames of hatred and hostility did not spare the memorials of our brave national heroes and martyrs that have trashed the public belief in politics and politicians. Historically, politicians and bureaucrats had always worked for their vested political and monetary interests and never upheld the constitution and the rule of the law, that ultimately harmed the state and spoiled the democracy. Apparently, rejuvenating the cipher saga will not benefit the coalition government at this stage because it will destroy the political atmosphere and disputed the forthcoming general election.

It is high time that the ruling coalition government and the opposition move forward to bring forth a comprehensive electoral reforms which must include the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), online voting by overseas Pakistanis, and a consensus electoral strategy that essentially has support from all political parties in the country so no one point finger on the electoral process after losing the poll.The ruling coalition government, and contesting political groups must exercise patience and avoid pushing the nation into a fresh political rigmorale and uncertainty. Meanwhile, the ECP must work proactively to ensure a free, fair, smooth and transparent election in the country, so the nation moves toward political stability, and socio-economic revival in the days to come.