Pakistan’s Supreme Court accepts jailed former premier Imran Khan’s bail plea; issues notices to FIA, federation : The Tribune India

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court accepts jailed former premier Imran Khan’s bail plea; issues notices to FIA, federation

Earlier, the Islamabad High Court had rejected Khan's bail application on October 27

Pakistan’s Supreme Court accepts jailed former premier Imran Khan’s bail plea; issues notices to FIA, federation

Imran Khan. Reuters file



PTI

Islamabad, November 22

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted for hearing the bail plea of jailed former premier Imran Khan in the cipher case and issued notices to the Federation and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), seeking their responses in the matter.

In March 2022, Khan and his foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were alleged to have violated the secret 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.

A three-member bench comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, and Justice Yahya Afridi declared as admissible the bail petition filed by the 71-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chairman through his lawyer Salman Safdar.

At the outset of the hearing, Safdar read out loud the first information report registered against Qureshi and Khan in the case after which Justice Masood inquired how far the matter dated back to and the punishment it carries if a person is found guilty.

It is from 2022, the lawyer replied. Safdar then briefed the court on the inquiry report and accusations made against the former prime minister in the case.

He added that Khan's then-principal secretary Azam Khan also accused the PTI chief of misusing the cipher.

Justice Masood then inquired whether the role of the co-accused was determined in the case. The lawyer stated Azam Khan from being an accused was turned into a witness for the case.

He added that Azam was “kidnapped” and after the “kidnapping” his statement was recorded under Section 164.

“Look, this is how the truth comes out,” said Justice Masood. On this, Safdar then contended that his client was being politically victimised.

During the hearing, Justice Malik asked the lawyer what was the central ground of his case.

“Our case is that this case is not maintainable,” responded Safdar. The sections included in the FIR against the PTI chief are those that are included in espionage offences.

“It was never mentioned in the investigation where the spying was done or which enemy country benefited out of it,” said Safdar.

To this, Justice Masood observed that the government was contending the accused compromised the code of the cipher.

Justice Afridi then brought up the issue of the cable's secrecy and whether the PTI chief had shown the document to anyone.

Safdar told the court that the cipher was not shown to anyone during this time.

“If the contents of a document are shared while waving it, doesn't it mean making it public?” asked Justice Masood while referring to the first time when the PTI chief revealed the alleged conspiracy in a rally.

The court issued notices to the federal government and the FIA and asked them to respond to the bail petition. The apex court then adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.

Earlier, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had rejected Khan's bail application on October 27.

The cipher case is about the allegations that the ousted premier and his foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi violated the secret laws of the country while handling a communication sent by the country's embassy in Washington in March last year.

The duo was indicted on October 23 and their formal trial has already begun with the recording of statements by witnesses. The IHC had upheld the indictment when challenged by 71-year-old Khan.

However, the IHC on Tuesday declared the jail trial as illegal as the proper procedure was not adopted for it.

It also said notifications issued for conducting the trial in jail were against the law and spoiled the proceedings, including the indictment of the PTI leaders and the testimonies of four witnesses.

A special court was conducting the trial in jail citing security concerns since Khan was indicted on the charges last month. The PTI chairman is currently in Adiala jail after he was indicted by the special court on October 23.

#Imran Khan #Pakistan #Supreme Court


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