Azam Khan, a former bureaucrat and ex-principal secretary to then Prime Minister Imran Khan, presented a notably milder statement during his appearance in the Cipher Case on Saturday.
In a special court session held at Adiala Jail, Khan refrained from repeating certain assertions made in his previous statement, where he had claimed that Imran Khan used the cipher for political advantages and to exert pressure on the military leadership.
During the court proceedings, Azam Khan disclosed that Imran Khan had criticized American authorities for sending instructions in the cipher, considering it a mistake that could unveil a conspiracy behind the no-confidence motion. Khan also mentioned that Imran Khan had displayed the cipher in a rally but did not open or read its contents aloud.
Contrary to his earlier statement, Azam Khan did not reiterate the claim that the cipher’s purpose was to pressurize the military leadership. However, he informed the court that the copy of the cipher received at the PM house went missing, according to Imran Khan. Khan believed that the copy should have been returned within a year but was not sent back during Azam Khan’s tenure.
Azam Khan further revealed that Imran Khan had instructed his military secretary and other staff members to locate the missing copy on multiple occasions. Notably, Khan clarified that the statements he provided earlier under sections 161 and 164 were not made under oath.
Following increased scrutiny on Imran Khan and his party after May 9, Azam Khan, who had initially gone ‘missing,’ emerged as a key witness against Khan. He had previously given statements to a judicial magistrate in the cipher case and testified against Khan in the National Accountability Bureau’s Toshakhana case.
The Cipher Case accuses Imran Khan of unlawfully retaining and communicating a classified diplomatic cable from Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington. Imran Khan contends that the cipher serves as evidence of an American-backed conspiracy to overthrow his government.