- Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been convicted.
- Both of them have declared themselves innocent in the case.
- PTI leaders have been imprisoned in Adiala jail.
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday rejected former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s plea seeking bail and quashing of the First Information Report (FIR) in the Sifar case.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq today announced the court order, which was reserved on October 16 after both sides completed arguments.
During the previous hearing, Khan’s lawyer Sardar Latif Khosa had argued that an FIR could not be registered against his client as the former prime minister’s federal cabinet had made the cipher public.
He further said that the former Prime Minister enjoys the immunity provided in Article 248 of the Constitution which extends to the President, Governor, Prime Minister, Federal Minister, Minister of State, Chief Minister and Provincial Minister for anything they have “done or is about to do”. Provides security. ,
During the hearing, another lawyer for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, Barrister Salman Safdar, argued that Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act was not applicable in the Sifar case.
He said this section could be invoked for sharing sensitive information with foreigners and this was the “key ingredient missing” in the FIR against the PTI chief.
Khan had challenged the registration of the FIR and sought bail in the case registered against him and party vice president Shah Mehmood Qureshi for misusing the secret document for their political gains.
A special court constituted under the Official Secrets Act has convicted both the party leaders. He is currently imprisoned in Adiala jail.
On October 26, the IHC had also rejected Imran Khan’s plea to stay the hearing in the case.
FIA charge sheet
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in its challan said that the former Prime Minister and the former External Affairs Minister were found guilty in the case and requested the court to try them in the case and punish them.
Former PTI general secretary Asad Umar’s name was not added to the list of accused, while Imran 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.
The names of former foreign secretaries Asad Majeed, Sohail Mehmood and then additional foreign secretary Faisal Niaz Tirmizi have also been added to the list of witnesses.
What is ciphergate?
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, former prime ministers, Asad Omar and Azam Khan, were allegedly heard discussing the US cipher and how to use it to their advantage. Could.
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.
The charge sheet states that Qureshi “aided and abetted” Imran and was, therefore, liable for the act in the same manner.
However, both the accused pleaded innocent.