Former SAPM on Political Communication Dr. Shahbaz Gill claims that the threatening letter was hidden from the then Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and subsequently former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Dr. Shahbaz Gill made the revelations on Twitter. His statements came after the recent National Security Committee (NSC) meeting on the letter-gate.
“The letter was hidden from Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan. Then a patriotic officer secretly informed Shah Sahib. Shah Sahab then obtained the letter and sent it to Prime Minister Imran Khan who was advised to remain silent and not talk about it,” Dr. Shahbaz Gill tweeted.
مراسلہ شاہ محمود قریشی اور وزیراعظم عمران خان سے چھپایا گیا تھا۔پھر شاہ صاحب کو ایک محب وطن افسر نے خفیہ اطلاع دی۔شاہ صاحب نے مراسلہ حاصل کیا اور وزیراعظم عمران خان تک پہنچایا۔پھر مشورہ دیا گیا ابھی چپ کر جائیں خان صاحب ابھی اس پر بات نہ کریں۔بار بار کہا گیا مراسلے کا زکر نہ کریں
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) April 22, 2022
No foreign conspiracy
On Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired the NSC meeting with chiefs of army staff, naval staff, and air staff in attendance. Former Pakistani ambassador to Washington Dr. Asad Majeed Khan briefed the meeting about the content of the diplomatic cable.
The NSC then concluded that “there has been no foreign conspiracy” to oust Imran Khan’s government. However, it also reaffirmed the decisions of the last NSC meeting. Ousted PM Imran chaired that meeting.
Read more: The curious case of a secret letter to Imran Khan
Pertinent to note here that in the last NSC meeting, the committee expressed serious concerns over the threatening memo of the communication of the foreign official. It also termed it undiplomatic and amounted to ‘blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan by the country in question, which was unacceptable under any circumstances’. As a result, Pakistan also sent a demarche to the US.
Former Pakistan’s ambassador to USA Asad Majeed himself briefed National Security Committee on content & context of telegram. Premier security agencies informed that they have found no evidence of conspiracy. pic.twitter.com/0vb08PKmNZ
— Asma Shirazi (@asmashirazi) April 22, 2022
SMQ knew about the letter?
Interestingly, shortly after the NSC meeting, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar Friday said that the Foreign Office informed ex-foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi about the cable immediately. However, he stopped the Foreign Office from issuing a demarche to the US envoy. She also added that the Ministry came under pressure since the PTI government had heavily politicized the matter.
Moreover, she revealed that Dr. Asad Majeed initially recommended issuing a demarche to the US ambassador in Islamabad based on the ‘luncheon’ discussion with Donald Lu.
Read more: Shehbaz Sharif raises question on US diplomat Donald Lu threatening Pakistan
However, the Foreign Office did not send the demarche on the instructions of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
“Pakistan’s foreign ministry came under severe pressure due to the mishandling of the issue,” she added.
On the other hand, Shah Mehmood Qureshi believes that the NSC meeting vindicated the PTI’s stance on the “threat letter”. He also called for a judicial commission to investigate the matter.