- PTI’s legal team says that the IHC has reserved its decision on the in-camera hearing.
- FIA team, special prosecutor appeared in the court.
- PTI’s lawyers refused to receive the FIA challan against their clients.
ISLAMABAD: A special court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of a cipher case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi till October 9 without any proceedings.
Special court judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain presided over the proceedings at Adiala jail in accordance with the Law Ministry’s notification.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team and the special prosecutor appeared before the court.
The 12-member PTI leader team, including Barrister Salman Safdar, Sardar Latif Khosa, Raja Yasir, Naeem Haider Panjutha, Barrister Umair Khan Niazi, Chaudhry Khalid Yousaf, Niazullah Khan Niazi, Rai Muhammad Ali and others, was allowed to attend the hearing at Adiala Jail. Went. ,
PTI’s lawyers objected to the hearing of the case in Adiala jail and requested the court to adjourn the hearing until the Islamabad High Court (IHC) decides on their clients’ petition challenging the in-camera hearing. Let it be given.
The IHC on Monday reserved its verdict on the Federal Investigation Agency’s plea for in-camera hearing on PTI chief’s bail plea in the cipher case.
The FIA had said in its petition that if the matter was discussed publicly, an open court hearing could harm Pakistan’s diplomatic relations with other states.
PTI’s legal team also refused to receive a copy of the FIA challan (chargesheet) submitted in the court last week in today’s hearing.
The PTI chief was also produced in the courtroom. Both PTI leaders are on judicial remand till October 10 in the cipher case.
A large number of police were deployed outside Rawalpindi jail for the hearing.
The FIA, in its challan, said the former prime minister and vice president were found guilty in the case and requested the court to try them in the case and punish them.
According to sources, the name of former PTI general secretary Asad Umar has not been added to the list of accused. Meanwhile, Khan’s former principal secretary Azam Khan was also named as a “strong witness” in the case.
The FIA also attached Azam’s statements recorded under sections 161 and 164 along with the challan, sources said, adding that the PTI chief kept the cipher with himself and misused the state secret.
Sources also said that Khan had a copy of the cipher but did not return it.
Additionally, the FIA also attached the transcript of Khan and Qureshi’s speech on March 27 – the day when the former prime minister presented a letter claiming it was a cipher from a foreign nation, which wanted His government should be removed from power.
The agency also submitted a list of 28 witnesses to the court along with the challan after recording their statements under Section 161.
Sources further said that the names of former Foreign Secretary Asad Majeed, Sohail Mehmood and then Additional Foreign Secretary Faisal Niaz Tirmizi have also been added to the list of witnesses.
Last month, the FIA had booked the PTI chief and the party’s vice president under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly misappropriating and misusing a classified document for their vested political interests.
“As a result of the findings of investigation No. 111/2023 dated 05.10.2022 registered at CTW, FIA Islamabad, it was revealed that former Prime Minister namely Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, former Foreign Minister namely Shah Mahmood Qureshi and their other associates are pursuing their ulterior motives. has been involved in the communication to unauthorized persons (i.e. the public at large) of information contained in a secret classified document (ciphered telegram received from PAPER Washington to the Secretary of the State Department on March 7, 2022) by distorting facts in order to obtain . and personal gain in a manner prejudicial to the interests of state security,” read the First Information Report (FIR) lodged against PTI leaders.
Subsequently, both the leaders were arrested in connection with the investigation of the case and a special court was set up under the Official Secrets Act to try the accused.
The controversy first came to light on March 27, 2022, when Khan – less than a month before his ouster in April 2022 – addressed a public rally and waved a letter in front of the crowd, claiming it was a It was the cipher of a foreign nation who had hatched the conspiracy. His political rivals overthrew the PTI government.
He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor did he reveal the name of the country from where the letter came. But days later, he accused the United States of plotting against him and alleged that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu had sought his removal.
The reference was about former Pakistan ambassador to the US Majid Ki meeting with Lu.
The former prime minister claimed that he was reading material from the cipher, adding that “if Imran Khan is removed from power then everything will be forgiven for Pakistan”.
Then on March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) took up the matter and decided to issue a “strong demarche” to the US for its “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.
Later, after his removal, then Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called a meeting of the NSC, which concluded that it had found no evidence of any foreign conspiracy in the cables.
In two audio leaks, which took the internet by storm and shocked the public after these incidents, the former prime minister, then federal minister Asad Umar and then principal secretary Azam were allegedly seen discussing the US cipher and how to use it. can be heard. For their benefit.
On September 30, the federal cabinet took note of the matter and constituted a committee to investigate the contents of the audio leak.
In October, the Cabinet gave the green signal to initiate action against the former Prime Minister and handed over the case to the FIA.
Once the FIA was tasked to investigate the case, it summoned Khan, Omar and other party leaders, but the PTI chief challenged the summons and obtained a stay order from the court.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) withdrew the stay order against the call-up notice to Khan by the FIA in July this year.