(CTN News) – In a special court session on Tuesday, the trial of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case was announced to be conducted within the confines of Adiala jail.
During today’s hearing, Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, overseeing Khan’s trial, declared, “The cipher trial will take place in jail in light of the security report by the superintendent of Adiala Jail.”
The court order specified that the subsequent hearing for the case would be held at Adiala jail, allowing attendance by anyone, including journalists.
Additionally, five family members of the accused were granted permission to attend the proceedings. Judge Zulqarnain adjourned the hearing until December 1.
Last week, the court had directed authorities to present the former prime minister and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi at Islamabad’s Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) today.
However, the Adiala jail authorities failed to comply, citing “security risks” in their report, despite previous orders to present him at the FJC.
This decision comes after the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) nullification of the August 29 notification for a jail trial in the initial hearing of the cipher case, held outside the Adiala prisons.
Trial Dynamics Unfold as Security Concerns Surrounding Imran Khan Intensify
Since Khan’s indictment last month, Judge Zulqarnain has been conducting the trial in jail due to security concerns.
In August of this year, both Khan and Qureshi were booked under the Official Secrets Act 1923 in the cipher case, following the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) invocation of Section 5 of the said law.
The leaders are currently in Adiala jail after being indicted by the special court.
During today’s hearing at the FJC, Salman Safdar represented the PTI chief, while Ali Bukhari served as Qureshi’s lawyer. The Federal Investigation Authority’s (FIA) prosecutors Shah Khawar and Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi were also present.
The Adiala jail authorities submitted a report citing serious security risks for Imran Khan’s appearance, seeking additional security from Islamabad police.
Prosecutor Khawar emphasized the importance of producing the accused, while Khan’s lawyer Safdar raised objections, stating that the superintendent violated IHC orders.
Qureshi’s lawyer Bukhari questioned the non-appearance of his client’s trial and emphasized the court’s responsibility to present both Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The court reserved its order on the jail report, with Judge Zulqarnain asserting the public and media’s right to access the court.