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Thursday, June 20, 2024  
13 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

What is a cipher?

MoFA has over 100 people dedicated to coding and decoding ciphers
Photo/File
Photo/File

A special court sentenced the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi to 10 years imprisonment in cipher case on Tuesday.

While the matter has been in courts and headlines for multiple months, many people still don’t know what a ‘cipher’ is.

A cipher is simply a coded way of writing messages. In government-speak, it is the method used to convey sensitive messages to prevent any unauthorised people from understanding them.

Ciphers involve a code that acts as a key to make a message readable to the right person. The method is especially known for sending messages from across borders as the transmission could involve a threat of interception.

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What is the ‘342’ statement?

Coding and decoding ciphers is a specialised task and entire departments are dedicated to it.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has more than 100 officers working in grade-16, who have been hired to read such messages. They are called “cipher assistants” and are also deployed in different embassies of Pakistan located outside the country.

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