ISLAMABAD: Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar on Thursday said that Chairman Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan has damaged national security by recklessly using the cipher. Chairman PTI has never returned the cipher to the relevant departments and now the FIA is handling the matter under the Official Secrets Act, he said.
Addressing a press conference, the law minister said that there was a lot of discussion on the issue of cipher, adding that several months ago the issue of cipher was came under discussion in the federal cabinet. According to old minutes, the then prime minister Imran Khan took custody of the cipher and waved it in front of the public in a rally, after which the cipher was not returned to the concerned department, he said.
He said that these are classified documents and it couldn’t be made public or shared with anyone as this information was about the relations of two countries, so they are sent in coded language and then is decoded and accessed by concerned authorities. Azam Nazeer said that these documents were used indiscriminately while compromising the national security, adding that this matter has been sent to FIA for inquiry as per law.
He said that the interior secretary had been given the authority who sent the matter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for action. He said that the FIA has summoned the former prime minister who challenged the notice before the Lahore High Court instead of giving his stance. The LHC issued a stay order on this matter and FIA’s action was delayed for 6 months due to a stay, he said, however, adding that the injunction was lifted a few days ago on the request of the government.
He said that former principal secretary received the documents from the concerned department and handed them over to ex-prime minister. He said that Azam Khan told in his statement that for what purposes the then prime minister Imran Khan used these papers. It was waved in the rally and tried to built a narrative to avoid no confidence move, he said. He said that the then Law Minister used this card in the House and the then speaker of the National Assembly did not hold discussion on it. The opposition, brought the no-confidence motion, was given an opportunity to speak in the National Assembly, he said.
He said that it had never happened before in the parliamentary history of Pakistan that the Deputy Speaker had turned down a motion of no confidence in one and a half minute without hearing the position of the members of the assembly. Imran Khan, taking advantage of this illegal ruling, advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly and within a few minutes, the largest House of the country was dissolved, he added.
He said that the movers of the opposition approached the Supreme Court against the violation of the constitution and the court declared the ruling of the Deputy Speaker unconstitutional and restored the National Assembly and the process of no confidence was adopted by the constitutional procedure. The federal law minister said that the government has fulfilled its constitutional, legal and moral responsibility according to the law and the matter has been sent to the FIA which is under investigation.
He said that Imran Khan has been summoned by the FIA investigation team on May 25, adding that Azam Khan is an important witness in it and he has given a statement to the magistrate under Section 164. He said taking into account this statement and Imran Khan’s answer, the further action will be decided by the FIA under the relevant clauses and provisions of the Secret Act.
Tarar said that the relations with friendly country were damaged and it would take time to restore it at the global level, which had an impact on the economic situation of the country. He said that the government is determined to make the inquiry, investigation and investigation transparent, meritorious and in accordance with the law. This case has to be decided by the courts, he said.
To a question, he said that if the documents are damaged due to negligence, then the punishment can be up to two years. If there evidence is find that these documents were used for personal purposes and the national security is damaged, the punishment for this is 14 years jail or can be more. He said that the issue of military courts is under hearing in the Supreme Court, adding that he was agree with the arguments of the Attorney General, there have been trials of civilians in military courts before.
He said that in 2015, the government of that time introduced legislation related to military courts in the context of APS tragedy and to control the increasing incidents of terrorism, because at that time civilians were the attackers. He said that a 17 member bench of the top court had reviewed this amendment, adding that there is a right of appeal in the Army Act and the Army Chief can also hear the appeal himself.
He said that in the Rawalpindi Bar case, the 17-member bench declared that every deserving person has the right to appeal. The accused have all the rights in the current cases as well given by international laws, he said, adding that this is the internal matter of Pakistan.