Home Latest News Special Court Extends Imran Khan, Qureshi’s Judicial Remand till Sept. 26

Special Court Extends Imran Khan, Qureshi’s Judicial Remand till Sept. 26

PTI chief’s continued detention follows Law Ministry issuing ‘no objection’ to cipher case hearings at Attock Jail

by Staff Report

File photo

A special court on Wednesday extended the judicial remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and party Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi until Sept. 26 in the cipher case, ensuring they will remain incarcerated as the trial continues.

The in-camera hearing was presided over by Judge Abual Hasan Zulqarnain, who reportedly directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit a challan in the case on Sept. 26.

Khan has been detained since Aug. 5 after he was convicted of “corrupt practices” in the Toshakhana case. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended his 3-year sentence, allowing him to be released, but he has remained incarcerated as the FIA arrested him in the cipher case under the Official Secrets Act.

A day earlier, the Ministry of Law and Justice issued a notification stating it had “no objection” against Khan’s hearings taking place at Attock Jail. “In light of rules and orders of Lahore High Court, Lahore, Volume Ill, Instructions to Criminal Courts Chapter-l, Practice in trial of criminal cases Part A, General (3) read with section 352 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and on the request of Judge, Special Court (Official Secrets Act, 1923), Islamabad, dated 12.09.2023, Law & Justice Division has ‘No Objection’ on conducting the trial of the accused (Mr. Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi), due to security concerns, in District Jail Attock under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (Act No. XIX of 1923) by the said Judge on 13th September, 2023,” it said. The notification was issued after the IHC reserved its verdict on Khan’s petition challenging his trial at the jail.

Meanwhile, Qureshi’s remand was also extended; the former foreign minister was arrested in the cipher case on Aug. 19. Speaking to media after attending Wednesday’s proceedings, he maintained the PTI had not betrayed the country and would not do so in future. “If I have been a traitor, then I should be hanged,” he added.

The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic cable sent by then-ambassador to the U.S. Asad Majeed Khan in which he had relayed a conversation with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu and advised issuance of a demarche over the latter’s “harsh language” about Pakistan’s position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The PTI chief had brandished a piece of paper he claimed was the cipher during a rally on March 27, 2022, alleging it was from a foreign nation seeking his ouster, though he did not specify the country. However, in live q&a a few days later, he had named both Lu and the U.S. Since then, two separate meetings of the National Security Committee (NSC) have described the cipher as “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan” but stopped shy of describing it as a conspiracy. The U.S. has also repeatedly denied seeking Khan’s ouster from office.

According to the case against Khan, he misused the cipher—a secret document—for political gains to avoid the vote of no-confidence that led to his ouster.

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