Headline: Diplomatic Cipher Case Resumes Hearing with Former PM Imran Khan and Ex-Foreign Minister Qureshi Receiving Challan Report
Islamabad’s special court is set to resume hearings on the diplomatic cipher case today at a courtroom inside Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the accused in the case, are expected to receive copies of the challan report.
On December 2, the special court, presided over by Judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain, rejected Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s request to summon President Dr. Arif Alvi to testify in the cypher case. During the hearing, Qureshi informed the judge that the president had not given his assent to the amendments made to the Official Secrets Act, 1923, by the previous PML-N-led government.
Judge Zulqarnain stated that there was no need to summon the president, clarifying that the cypher case would be heard under Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and the amendments made to the law would not apply to him or former PTI chairman Imran Khan. He emphasized that the proceedings of the case would be carried out on merit. The court adjourned until December 4.
In its written order for the December 2 hearing, the court mentioned that the public and the media were present during the judicial proceedings held at a courtroom in Adiala Jail, and Section 352 of the Criminal Procedure Code was enacted in full force. It noted that ample time was given to Imran and Qureshi in the presence of the media and the public to express their views.
On March 27, 2022, ahead of a vote of no-confidence that led to his ouster, former premier Imran Khan had pulled out a piece of paper – allegedly the cypher – from his pocket and waved it at a public gathering in Islamabad, claiming it was evidence of an “international conspiracy” to topple his government.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) initiated its probe into the so-called “cypher-gate” on July 19, 2023, after the last PML-N-led coalition government announced an official inquiry against the former PM and his close associates for violating the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who had served as the country’s foreign minister during the PTI’s rule, was arrested by the FIA on August 19. The agency arrested Imran on August 29.