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Despite IHC ruling, special court decides to hold cipher trial in Adiala jail

Admin By Admin Nov28,2023

Decision taken after Adiala jail authorities fail to produce Imran Khan in court today citing “security risks”

PTI Chairman Imran Khan and vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A special court Tuesday announced that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s trial in the cipher case will be conducted in Adiala jail.

In today’s hearing, Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain — who has conducting Khan’s trial, said: “The cipher trial will take place in jail in light of the security report by the superintendent of Adiala Jail.” 

Last week, the court had ordered authorities to present the former prime minister and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi at Islamabad’s Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) today.

However, today the Adiala jail authorities failed to produce the former prime minister before the special court citing “security risks” in their report despite the orders to present him at the FJC. 

The orders were issued in the first hearing of the cipher case that held outside the Adiala prisons after the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to nullify the August 29 notification for a jail trial.

Judge Zulqarnain of the special court has been conducting the trial in jail citing security concerns since Khan was indicted on the charges last month. 

In August of this year, Khan and Qureshi were booked under the Official Secrets Act 1923 in the cipher case after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) invoked Section 5 of the said law.

Both the leaders have been indicted in the missing cipher case and are currently in Adiala jail after they were indicted by the special court. 

The diplomatic cable reportedly went missing from Imran’s possession. According to the former ruling party, the cable contained a threat from the United States to topple the PTI’s government.

At the outset of the hearing, the judge directed the court staff to present the record of the case.

The Adiala jail authorities submitted the report to the court regarding Imran Khan’s appearance, which said that they could not present the PTI chief due to serious security risks.

The superintendent of the Adiala jail, in his report, wrote that they have sought additional security from the Islamabad police.

Speaking to media persons at FJC, Federal Investigation Authority’s (FIA) Prosecutor Shah Khawar said that the PTI chief should be produced as the court will conduct a fresh trial.

“His court appearance is important in light of IHC’s orders,” he said, adding that the criminal code requires that the accused to be produced and the counsel can file a petition under Section 540 in case he’s not brought to the court.

Khawar added that it was important to produce the accused to charge him. 

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