Cipher fiasco, Arshad Sharif and Azam Khan

CrimeCipher fiasco, Arshad Sharif and Azam Khan

Islamabad, Pakistan: The Chairman PTI Imran Khan during his last three “addresses to the nation” had been directing his followers that they must not give attention to what his former Principal Secretary Azam had told about the reality of the cipher fiasco.

Azam Khan in a confessional statement confirmed that the cipher was a stage drama and there was no such document that could be considered a “threatening letter to Pakistan or to Imran Khan”. It may be mentioned that his audio leak with Imran Khan had already confirmed months ago what Azam Khan is now saying.


Strangely, the data available about live listeners of his live telecast address to the nation had drastically come down and now stands between 0.3 million to 0.3.5 million which had been over one million in the past. In a population of over 225 million people and having strong support from abroad, this figure of live watching of his address is a serious decline and an issue of grave concern for his media designers who of course are worried about such waning listeners.

Imran Khan’s claim of “being followed by millions of Pakistanis” has been shaken already because he can see how many people were watching him live during his last three addresses to the nation. Meanwhile, the arrest of just 8,000 plus followers after the May 9, 2023, horrific attack on the Pakistan military confirmed the fact that his extremist followers were not more than 20,000 and he had been making a country of 225 million people hostage for a long time with just 10 to 20 thousands charged followers.  However, one must appreciate his foreign media managers because they are successfully managing his appearances by avoiding the “reactionary approach” that his opponents are victims of. His foreign media team believes in consolidating his narrative instead of engaging in countering opponents whenever facts given by Imran Khan are challenged and that is the reason he is emphasizing to his followers “Forget what Azam Khan is saying—Listen what I am saying”. His strategy of avoiding any logical discussion, and not answering points raised by opponents for contesting his lies is perfectly working on his followers and this is the best strategy any cult or extremist organization follows. However, things are getting quite serious for Imran Khan legally although he has higher judiciary standing with him murder case of anchorperson Arshad Sharif could be heavy on Khan’s fate because this murder is directly linked with the cipher issue and unfolding realities around the cipher fiasco can anytime lead to a point where Imran Khan shall have to respond to the law.

Late Arshad Sharif’s popularity was based on being an investigative journalist and when the cipher fiasco started with Imran Khan claiming that his regime was changed by the United States (as it changed several regimes in the world in the past), Arshad Sharif by using the data from documents like “United States involvement in regime change” since 19th century started a series of television shows on ARY News and he tried to tell his viewers that Imran Khan was justified to say that his regime was changed by United States as it did in many countries in past. Arshad Sharif held several meetings with Imran Khan and interviewed him after the cipher fiasco came to the surface and Arshad Sharif in his shows indirectly indicated that he had access to cipher content.

The sad episode of his unfortunate story of Arshad Sharif who had been known for his wielding relations with the Pakistani military started after he held a series of shows and he received pressure from official quarters. At this juncture of point, Imran Khan developed fears in him that his life was in danger in Pakistan and military wanted to kill him some politicians of PTI claimed that Imran Khan sent him to stay in KPK where PTI had the government and some politicians and journalists also claimed that Khan’s friendly arrangements were not only in civil bureaucracy in Peshawar but also in forces.

Imran Khan himself said that he advised Arshad Sharif to leave the country and he reached Peshawar airport with full protocol for his flight to Dubai. From Dubai, his next destination was Kenya where was shot dead and the case still shrouds in thick clouds. After the murder of Arshad Sharif, PTI used his murder for political gains for sometimes and then his case became a bygone issue for PTI and the deceased family had no support from PTI even for hiring lawyers to contest the case in court. When Imran Khan was using this murder case for his political gains, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on an application of the mother of the deceased also became active.

It may be mentioned that former Justice Shaukat Aziz who was sent home by judges sitting in Supreme Court offered his free-of-cost services to the deceased’s family for contesting his case and his mother filed an application to investigate Imran Khan in this case but Supreme Court turned down the application of his mother to include Imran Khan in case.

Government circles in Islamabad claim that when Arshad Sharif found the fact that he was ruthlessly used by Imran Khan for building a narrative of “US conspiracy” and that facts provided by Khan to Arshad Sharif were fabricated then Arshad Sharif felt disgruntled and became confused.

Government circles are of the view that the facts behind the cipher and Arshad Sharif’s murder have to be determined because Arshad came to know that there was no proof found by investigative agencies regarding the conspiracy against the PTI government and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) also did not find any evidence regarding the conspiracy and Arshad Sharif and other journalists were fed a particular narrative and an attempt was made to defame Pakistan and the country’s institutions across the world. This understanding of being used ruthlessly by Imran Khan and his TV channel for targeting the Army and promoting a false narrative was quite shocking, disturbing, and depressing for Arshad Sharif because Arshad knew that Pakistan Army had been very kind to him for being a child of the uniformed family and he was used against his mentors by Imran Khan.

Government sources are of the view that the unfolding of cipher drama would definitely help to unfold the realities behind the murder of Arshad Sharif but now all would be dealt with by the forthcoming interim government as the PDM government is completing its tenure in August 2023.

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