Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday ruled that jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan‘s bail plea in the cipher case would take place in an open court on October 9, as it disposed of a petition by the country’s top investigation agency seeking in-camera proceedings of the bail plea.
Khan, 70, was arrested in August after the case was filed against him for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act by disclosing a secret diplomatic cable (cipher) sent by the country’s embassy in Washington last year in March.
Last week, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking in-camera proceedings of Khan’s bail plea. It said an open hearing in a case related to the alleged disclosure of state secrets could pose a “risk of deteriorating relations” with other countries. Khan and his close aide Shah Mahmood Qureshi were named “principal accused” in the case by the apex investigation agency.
Both Khan and Qureshi are currently detained in jail on judicial remand.
On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that an open court hearing on the bail petition will be held on October 9. However, it added that arguments by lawyers on documents regarded as sensitive will be heard in-camera, Geo News reported.
Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain presided over the hearing at Adiala jail, where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chairman Khan and Vice Chairman Qureshi are currently incarcerated, the media reported.
Meanwhile, PTI lawyer Barrister Salman Safdar termed the in-camera trial of the former premier and former foreign minister Qureshi in the cipher case “unconstitutional”.
“The trial should not be held behind closed doors. It is unconstitutional,” Safdar said outside the jail.
“Imran’s arrest and remand in the case were also kept secret, and now, this trial is being kept secret as well,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Khan is charged with violating the Official Secrets Act in connection with the leakage of a confidential diplomatic cable from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington.
In March last year, ahead of the vote of no-confidence that resulted in his ouster, cricketer-turned-politician pulled out a piece of paper – allegedly the cipher – from his pocket and waved it at a public rally in Islamabad, claiming it was the evidence of an “international conspiracy” being hatched to topple his government.
However, during the interrogation with the joint investigation team (JIT) in the jail on August 26, Khan denied that the paper he waved at a public gathering last year was the cipher. He also admitted to losing the cipher, saying he couldn’t recall where he kept it.
His principal secretary, Azam Khan, stated before a magistrate and the FIA that the Khan used it for his ‘political gains’ and to avert a no-confidence vote against him.
The purported cipher (secret diplomatic cable) contained an account of a meeting between US State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, and Pakistani envoy Asad Majeed Khan last year.
Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has conducted search operations at six locations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on 29.11.2023 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in connection with investigation regarding fraud in sanction of loans under Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to farmers for construction of fish tanks.
The Hyderabad City Police Commissioner, Sandeep Shandilya, has announced restrictions including closure of liquor outlets at the counting centers during the vote counting process.
A fire broke out in Sathupalli government Hospital of Khammam district. The fire broke out in the dialysis center of the hospital on Saturday, December 2, 2023. As a result, the patients who were being treated there ran out screaming in fear.
Election results in Telangana will be announced tomorrow (sunday), in this connection, YSRTP Chief Y.S Sharmila sent a variety gift to the Chief Minister K.C Chandrasekhar Rao. A suit case was sent as a gift to KCR saying bye-bye KCR.. The time has come to fix the KCR suitcase. Pack up KCR. Bye-bye KCR” she…
A car accidentally overturned near Buschinelli in Zaheerabad mandal of Rangareddy district. The police who inspected the scene were surprised to see 2 quintal packets of ganja in the car.