Former Pak FM Qureshi’s remand extended in diplomatic cable leakage case

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A special court in Islamabad to hear cases filed under the Official Sec­rets Act.
Mehmood Qureshi (Photo - The Print)

A special court in Pakistan has extended the remand of former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi by three days in connection with the leakage of a confidential diplomatic cable. The cable was alleged to have been misused for political purposes by the previous Imran Khan-led government.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a prominent member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and a close aide to former Prime Minister Imran Khan, was taken into custody on August 19 under the Official Secrets Act. The charges originated from his alleged violation of the secrecy of an official cable sent by the Pakistani embassy in the US to the foreign office during his tenure as the foreign minister.

The special court, established under the recently enacted Official Secrets Act, held an in-camera hearing for the case. Judge Abual Hasnat presided over the proceedings, during which Qureshi’s remand was extended. The trial of both Imran Khan and Qureshi, under the same act, is anticipated to commence within the next two weeks.

The leaked diplomatic cable in question reportedly contained sensitive information from a meeting between US State Department officials and Pakistani envoy Asad Majeed Khan. The case gained further attention when a US media outlet, The Intercept, published what it claimed to be the contents of the cable. The leak was alleged to have taken place when Qureshi was the foreign minister.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, currently serving a jail term in a corruption case, has repeatedly claimed that he was ousted from office as part of a “US conspiracy.” The PTI party asserts that the leaked cipher contained a threat from the United States to remove Khan from power.

Qureshi’s lawyer, Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, said that the case is “political” and argued that the diplomatic cable was already with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a developing story with many layers to uncover and names to be revealed.

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