(CTN NEWS) – A recently established special court designated to handle cases arising from the Official Secrets Act has confirmed the extension of PTI Chairman Imran Khan‘s judicial remand until September 13, as confirmed by his legal representative on Wednesday.
This decision follows closely after the Islamabad High Court suspended the former prime minister’s three-year imprisonment sentence in the Toshakhana case, in which he had been convicted on August 5.
Notably, in response to the verdict suspension, the special court directed the authorities at Attock District Jail, where Imran Khan is presently detained, to maintain his custody within a “judicial lockup.” Subsequently, he was to be produced in connection with the cipher case.
The cipher case involves a diplomatic document that reportedly went missing from Imran Khan’s possession. The PTI alleges that this document contained a threat from the United States aimed at removing Imran from power.
In the same case, proceedings are also underway against Shah Mahmood Qureshi, PTI’s vice chairman and former foreign minister.
Legal Proceedings Unfold: Imran Khan’s Cipher Case and Judicial Remand Developments
In correspondence addressed to the superintendent of Attock jail, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain conveyed that Imran Khan was to be subjected to “judicial remand in the aforementioned FIR case, and he is currently detained in district jail, Attock.”
The previous night, a notification from the law ministry disclosed that the interior ministry had raised “security concerns” in a letter and the Law and Justice Division did not object to holding Imran Khan’s cipher case trial at Attock jail.
Consequently, Judge Zulqarnain convened an in-camera hearing of the case at Attock jail, in the deputy superintendent’s office. Prior to the session, the police restricted the entry of the PTI’s legal team into the jail, allowing only one lawyer.
After the hearing, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Barrister Salman Safdar, asserted that the case against the PTI chairman under the Secrets Act lacked merit, and he intended to file a bail petition. He highlighted that the trial had yet to commence and that political motivations seemed evident.
Later on, the PTI’s legal team, including Safdar, Intizar Panjutha, Naeem Haider Panjutha, and Ali Ijaz Battar, were granted access to the jail.
During the court proceedings, Imran Khan appeared alongside the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) team and the PTI’s legal representatives. Following the hearing’s conclusion, Judge Zulqarnain left the jail premises to return to Islamabad.
Previously, the special court had extended Qureshi’s remand by two days, which concluded on this day.
Subsequently, Barrister Safdar confirmed that the court had extended Imran Khan’s judicial remand by 14 days and had issued a notice regarding his post-arrest bail petition, requiring a response from the respondents by September 2.
Legal Maneuvers and Stance Unveiled: Imran Khan’s Cipher Case Developments
Safdar shared that Imran Khan was in high spirits and positive during their meeting, where the PTI chief detailed his stance on the cipher case for 15 minutes.
Highlighting the unusual nature of applying the Secrets Act to a former premier and a former foreign minister (Qureshi), Safdar criticized the prosecution.
He pointed out that neither the PTI’s legal team nor Imran himself were aware that he had been under judicial remand for the past 15 days in the cipher case, despite the FIA’s unsuccessful attempt for physical remand.
Barrister Safdar confirmed that the special court would hear the bail plea on Saturday. Furthermore, notices were issued to the FIA for two other petitions: one challenging the trial’s legitimacy and another requesting an open court hearing.
Regarding Imran’s stance on the cipher case, Safdar mentioned that former interior minister Rana Sanaullah had admitted on social media that they possessed the original cipher. Additionally, the FIA acknowledged that the original cipher document was held by the Foreign Office.
Safdar referred to meetings by the previous cabinet, asserting that the cipher’s contents were discussed there and that the government had declassified it. This raised questions about the purpose of the ongoing case, as the cipher was no longer classified after declassification.
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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