ATTOCK: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s judicial remand has been prolonged until September 13 by the Official Secrets Act Court Judge, Abul Hasanat Zulqarnain, in connection with the cipher case against him.
The case revolves around the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, and his alleged involvement in revealing confidential information under the Official Secrets Act.
The court proceedings took place within Attock Jail, where Imran Khan, the head of PTI, appeared before Judge Abul Hasanat Zulqarnain. Following the court’s directive, the judicial remand has been extended by 14 more days.
Upon the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Abu Al-Hasanat Zul-Qarnain departed from Attock Jail.
Concurrently, Imran Khan’s legal representative, Salman Safdar, has submitted a bail application subsequent to his arrest under the Official Secrets Act. The special court has issued a notice to all concerned parties, requiring their responses by September 2. The bail plea will be contested by both the FIA’s special prosecutor and PTI’s legal team.
Moreover, Imran Khan’s legal team has requested that the cipher case be held in an open court and the Ministry of Law’s notification pertaining to the trial within the jail premises be nullified.
The case against the former prime minister was initiated by the government due to the alleged mishandling of a Pakistani embassy document, known as the cipher, in the US, leading to its public disclosure.
The Ministry of Law granted permission for the proceedings to be conducted within the jail confines, as per a special court notification. The decision was influenced by security concerns, prompting the Ministry of Law to issue a notification specifying Attock Jail as the venue for the hearing.
Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain presided over the case, affirming the previous day’s ruling that required Imran Khan to remain incarcerated despite the relief granted in the Tosha Khana case. The court also instructed for Imran Khan to be presented before it.
On a subsequent Wednesday, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a prominent PTI leader, was presented before a special court after the conclusion of his physical remand in a case related to the Official Secrets Act.
Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain declined the FIA’s plea for an extended physical remand and ordered a 14-day judicial remand for Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Following Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s arrest, his legal counsel, Babar Awan, submitted a bail application. In response, Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain issued a notice, with the parties expected to present their arguments by September 2. Notably, Imran Khan’s bail application is also scheduled for the same date.
Furthermore, Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain authorized Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s legal representatives, Babar Awan and Amna Ali, to meet him while he is in jail.
Conversely, PTI has voiced its rejection of the decision to move the case’s hearing to Attock Jail. In an official statement, Tehreek-e-Insaf expressed its call for local and international human rights organizations to protest against this perceived unconstitutional and authoritarian move.
Earlier on a Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court ordered the temporary suspension of Imran Khan’s sentence in the Tosha Khana case, albeit with a nearly two-hour delay.
Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court, Aamir Farooq, articulated in a written judgment that the sentence issued in this case was of a brief duration. The court held the belief that the petitioners were entitled to suspension of sentence and release on bail.
The suspension of the trial court’s decision was executed on August 5, with the approval of the petition for suspension of sentence and the requirement for a bond of one lakh rupees for the petitioner’s release.
After several days of hearings upon the request of the former prime minister, the proceedings concluded on Monday. Subsequently, a bench comprising Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court Amir Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri reserved their decision.
Regarding the ongoing detention of Imran Khan in Attock Jail, a spokesperson for Tehreek-e-Insaf contended that his confinement was unauthorized.