Cipher case: Pak special court orders ex-PM Imran Khan to be presented in Federal Judicial Complex on Nov 28

Cipher case: Pak special court orders ex-PM Imran Khan to be presented in Federal Judicial Complex on Nov 28

Islamabad, Nov 23 (PTI) A Pakistani Special Court on Thursday ordered authorities to present jailed former prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Federal Judicial Complex here on November 28 for the hearing of the cipher case.

Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain issued the directive while hearing the case at Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday declared null and void the in-prison trial of the duo on procedural grounds and also declared that the proceedings conducted so far were vitiated.

A two-member bench of the IHC issued its reserved judgment on an intra-court appeal by Khan against the single bench verdict of the same court that had turned down the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chairman's appeal against his trial in Rawalpindi's high-security Adiala Jail, where he is currently detained.

On Thursday, the judge asked for a copy of the IHC order, which was duly furnished and summoned Khan and Qureshi on November 28, adjourning the case until then.

He also stated that the trial would begin from the position prior to August 29, when the court ordered the former premier's physical remand, and he was arrested while still in jail due to Toshakhana corruption case conviction.

Khan, 71, has been kept in the Adiala jail since September 26 when shifted there from District Jail, Attock.

His close aide and former foreign minister Qureshi, 67, was also arrested in the cipher (secret diplomatic cable) case and is imprisoned in the same jail. Khan and Qureshi have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

As the Special Court would start a fresh trial, the prosecution would have to file a fresh application to conduct the trial in jail if it was still required.

According to the first information report (FIR) filed by the Federal Investigation Agency on August 15, the case has been registered under sections 5 and 9 of the Official Sec­rets Act, 1923.

Judge Zulqarnain now has four weeks to conclude the trial in the cipher case, the Dawn newspaper reported quoting sources privy to the prosecution.

The sources said the trial would conclude within the 30-day deadline, as the court would require a week to frame charges, and there would be sufficient time to record the testimony of witnesses and accused in three weeks.

In March 2022, Khan and his foreign minister Qureshi were alleged to have violated the secrecy laws of the country while handling a communication (cipher) sent by Pakistan's embassy in Washington.

The diplomatic cable reportedly went missing from Khan's possession.

The duo, who had claimed that the cable contained a threat from the United States to topple the PTI’s government, was indicted on October 23. Their formal trial began with the recording of statements by the witnesses two weeks ago.

They were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency in the case in August.

Khan was ousted through a vote of no-confidence in April 2022. More than 150 cases have been registered against him since his ouster from power. PTI SH GRS AKJ GRS GRS

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