(CTN NEWS) – On Saturday, Imran Khan, the Chairman of PTI, approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to request bail after his arrest in the cipher case.
Currently incarcerated at Attock jail, Khan’s move follows the recent rejection of his plea for the same by a special court designated for cases filed under the Official Secrets Act.
The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that reportedly went missing from Imran Khan’s possession, with PTI claiming it contained a threat from the United States to remove him from power.
Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been attending hearings related to the case.
The involvement of PTI leader Asad Umar and former Principal Secretary Azam Khan was expected to be determined during the course of the investigation.
While Asad Umar was granted pre-arrest bail on Thursday, Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi were denied bail after their arrest, and their judicial remand, which has been extended, is set to conclude on September 26.
Imran Khan Files Petition for Bail Amidst a Myriad of Charges and Allegations
Today, Imran Khan submitted the petition, a copy of which is in possession of Dawn.com, via his attorney Barrister Salman Safdar.
The respondents in this case include the State and Interior Ministry Secretary, Yousuf Naseem Khokar.
The petition implored the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to grant Imran Khan bail after his arrest in the cipher case, requesting this relief until the final resolution of the case, citing the pursuit of justice as the primary motive.
The plea highlighted that approximately 200 criminal cases have been lodged against the former prime minister, nearly 40 of which involve charges related to corruption, murder, sedition, mutiny, foreign funding, NAB (National Accountability Bureau) reference, and Toshakhana reference.
It contended that Imran Khan could not seek remedy under section 498 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The petition alleged that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was acting on the direction of the former interior ministry
. Furthermore, it pointed out that the issue of the case not being registered by the foreign ministry had gone unnoticed by Special Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain.
The plea noted that history had not seen the “arrest” and “prosecution” of a former prime minister (Imran) and a former foreign minister (Qureshi) under the Secrets Act, emphasizing that past authoritative judgments had criticized immediate arrests.
The petition argued that the Secrets Act was initially enacted to hold members of the armed forces (air, navy, army) accountable for violations and breaches of the law.
It asserted that neither section 5 (wrongful communication, etc., of information) nor section 9 (attempts, incitements, etc.) of the Official Secrets Act were relevant in the cipher case, and the law had “no remote relevance to the allegations detailed in the FIR.”
Petition Alleges Contradictions, Malicious Intent, and Foreign Interference Concerns in Imran Khan’s Case
The petition further claimed that former interior minister Rana Sanaullah and the FIA had provided “contradictory statements,” suggesting that the “original cipher document is securely held in the custody of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
The plea stated that the petitioner’s primary concern was to prevent foreign interference in domestic political affairs.
It went on to assert, “This is another like attempt, made by the state functionaries, to secure the straightway arrest of the petitioner after suspension of his sentence in Toshakhana reference.”
The petition also alleged that the actions of the respondents demonstrated “clear mala fide, hostility, and vindictive motives to harm the petitioner in his office, career, person, reputation, and dignity.”
It emphasized that the petitioner was willing to provide reasonable surety to the court’s full satisfaction and also pledged “not to abscond or tamper with the prosecution witnesses.”
The petition highlighted that Imran Khan is “one of the few honest and dignified statesmen of Pakistan,” recalling his cricket career and philanthropic contributions.
It further contended that his “mandate and growing popularity it got from the masses became a threat to the already well-established political forces.” The plea added that state machinery was being misused for the sole purpose of “political victimization and score-settling.”
The petition was accepted and scheduled for a hearing on Monday by IHC Chief Justice Amir Farooq.
Imran Khan’s “Cipher” Case: Allegations of Foreign Conspiracy and Political Impact
The “cypher” case revolves around a diplomatic cable that Imran Khan had presented as evidence supporting his claim that he was removed from power in April of the previous year due to a US-driven plot supported by the term “establishment,” often used to refer to Pakistan’s influential military.
Khan asserts that the cable substantiates his assertion that his ousting was orchestrated by the United States, which he alleges exerted pressure on Pakistan’s military to overthrow his government.
He links this pressure to his visit to Russia shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Both the US and the Pakistani government and military have rejected Khan’s allegations.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the vice chairman of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and a former foreign minister, has also been arrested in connection with the same case.
During the period of Khan’s incarceration this month, Pakistan’s parliament was dissolved at the request of his successor, Shehbaz Sharif. This led to the formation of an interim government to oversee fresh national elections.
However, the election date remains unannounced as the country’s election commission redraws constituencies based on the most recent census data.
Imran Khan, a former international cricket star and Pakistan’s most prominent political figure, has found himself entangled in over 100 legal cases, which he contends are orchestrated to hinder his chances of success in the upcoming elections.
Following Khan’s conviction and imprisonment on corruption charges, the election commission imposed a five-year ban on his participation in elections.
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