(CTN NEWS) – On Saturday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) scheduled the hearing for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader and former Prime Minister Imran Khan‘s bail application in the missing cipher case, setting it for Monday, September 25th.
The IHC registrar released the cause list for next week’s hearings, which included the bail plea of the PTI leader.
The case will be presided over by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, who has issued a notice to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to present their arguments. bail
Additionally, the IHC had previously deferred its decision on the request to transfer the former prime minister from Attock jail to Adiala jail, but it has now been rescheduled for re-hearing. Chief Justice Aamer will also hear this petition on September 25th.
The court had previously reserved its verdict after the conclusion of arguments a few days ago. The current hearing is intended to provide further clarity on specific legal points.
Previously, a special court designated for cases under the Official Secrets Act had rejected Imran Khan’s bail application.
Imran Khan’s Controversial Cipher Saga and Its Aftermath
The controversy initially surfaced on March 27, 2022, just days before Imran Khan’s removal from office in April 2022. During this time, Khan revealed a letter, claiming it to be a communication from a foreign nation, suggesting that his government should be ousted.
He refrained from disclosing the letter’s contents or identifying the nation responsible. However, a few days later, he pointed to the United States and asserted that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs, Donald Lu, had advocated for his removal.
The cipher in question pertained to a meeting between former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, and Lu.
Khan, while asserting that he was quoting from the cipher, contended that “all would be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan was no longer in power.”
Subsequently, on March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) addressed the matter and opted to issue a “strong demarche” to the concerned country, citing its “blatant interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.”
Following Khan’s removal from office, his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, convened another NSC meeting, which concluded that no evidence of foreign conspiracy in connection with the cipher could be substantiated.
The case regarding the cipher against the former prime minister escalated when his principal secretary, Azam Khan, attested before a magistrate and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) that Khan had exploited the US cipher for his “political advantage” and to avert a vote of no-confidence against him.
In his confession, Azam revealed that when he provided the ex-premier with the cipher, Khan exhibited great enthusiasm and described the language as a “US blunder.”
Khan allegedly suggested that the cable could be employed to “construct a narrative against the establishment and opposition.”
Azam further claimed that the US cipher was utilized at political gatherings by the PTI chairman, despite his advice to refrain from such actions.
He noted that the former prime minister also informed him that the cipher could be employed to divert public attention toward “foreign involvement” in the opposition’s no-confidence motion.
Ex-Prime Minister Files Bail Application
The former prime minister, in a petition filed by his attorneys Barrister Salman Safdar and Khalid Mehmood, has formally requested the court to grant him bail while he remains detained at Attock Jail.
In his petition, the PTI chief contends that the prosecution has lodged a baseless and concocted case against him.
He argues that the special court, established to adjudicate cases related to the Official Secrets Act, has “completely disregarded numerous irregularities and inconsistencies” within the prosecution’s case.
A written judgment authored by Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain asserts that the missing cypher case is of utmost secrecy, and the prosecution possesses “indisputable evidence linking Imran Khan and [PTI leader] Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the case.”
The court observes that there is “sufficient incriminating evidence on record linking the accused to the present case.”
The judgment further states, “The record indicates reasonable grounds for believing that the accused/petitioners are guilty of the offences under sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, based on the contents of the initial First Information Report (FIR).”
“Furthermore, there are also reasonable grounds for suspecting that the accused/petitioners have committed a non-bailable offence.
The record, which comprises various documents, provides adequate justification for the denial of bail to both accused individuals,” concludes the seven-page written order.
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