Wednesday, March 30, 2022

IHC hopes PM Imran Khan will not make 'secretive' memo public

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah says court confident PM will not reveal information in violation of his oath

Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the volunteers of COVID-19 Relief Tiger Force, in Islamabad on May 4, 2020. — PID
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the volunteers of COVID-19 Relief Tiger Force, in Islamabad on May 4, 2020. — PID

  • IHC says it's confident PM will not reveal information in violation of oath.
  • IHC says prime minister bound by Official Secrets Act, 1923.
  • PM had said letter carrying threat from foreign powers was written by Pakistani envoy.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday hoped Prime Minister Imran Khan will not make a "secretive" memo public that, according to the government, "threatens" Pakistan's sovereignty.

In a written order, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said the court is confident that as an elected prime minister, Imran Khan would not disclose any information or act in breach of section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, or violate the oath taken by him under the Constitution.

"Any decision taken by the Prime Minister has to be in consonance with his obligations under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and in letter and spirit of the oath of the office," the written order read.

The court said it has "trust and confidence" that the premier would not reveal any information which may be prejudicial to the national interest and national integrity of Pakistan, nor that he would act in any manner that would have the effect of violating his oath.

The IHC CJ mentioned that if the court passes a restraining order, it would "unjustifiably reflect a lack of confidence in an elected prime minister."

'Letter carrying threat was written by Pakistani envoy'

Shortly before the order, PM Imran Khan, according to sources, had said that a Pakistani envoy posted in a foreign country wrote the memo that he flashed on March 27 in a rally and termed it "threatening".

Read more: Letter carrying threat from foreign power was written by Pakistani envoy, says PM Imran Khan on memo

The premier, while interacting with journalists, said the envoy had sent the letter to Pakistan after he met an official of a foreign country, according to sources.

PM Imran Khan said the memo was shared with the military leadership, according to sources, and mentioned that the tone used in the cable was "threatening".

The prime minister said the memo would be shared with parliamentarians during an in-camera session, but noted that the name of the country that "threatened" Pakistan could not be shared — as national security laws are applicable.

Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who attended the briefing, according to sources, told journalists that the memo mentions that if the no-confidence motion passes, everything will be forgiven for Pakistan.

Read more: Imran Khan sees 'foreign hand' behind efforts to topple his government

Umar further said that the letter mentions that "in case of its failure, the problems for Pakistan will increase."

In his March 27 address to a PTI rally, the prime minister had revealed that "foreign elements" are involved in the attempts to topple his government and said, "some of our own people" are being used in this regard.

In a press conference Tuesday, Umar had said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif joined hands with foreign powers and is involved in the "conspiracy" against PM Imran Khan.

Read more: MQM-P officially announces decision to part ways with PTI

The PML-N supremo is in London and he has met officials from the "intelligence agencies of other countries". The federal minister said the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) leadership is not "unaware" of the letter.