- Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain presides over today’s hearing at Adiala Jail
A special court adjourned on Wednesday hearing of a cipher case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi till October 9.
Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain presided over today’s hearing at Adiala Jail in which both the leaders were presented.
The PTI’s legal team raised objections that the hearing was being held in Adiala Jail and requested the court adjourn until the Islamabad High Court (IHC) decides on a plea challenging their clients in-camera trial.
Subsequently, the judge adjourned the hearing till October 9.
On October 2, the IHC reserved its verdict on the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) plea for an in-camera hearing. The FIA had requested the court for an in-camera hearing, citing “privileged” and “sensitive” documents and information as a reason.
Meanwhile on Monday, the special court issued orders to produce both the PTI leaders before it on October 4 (today).
A day ago, the Ministry of Law and Justice issued a notification for the jail trial of Imran and Qureshi in the cipher case.
As per the notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, in light of the rules and orders of the Lahore High Court, Lahore, Volume III, Instructions to Criminal Courts Chapter-1, 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 October 2, Law and Justice Division has “No Objection” on jail trial of the accused (Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi), in which he is confined, under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (Act No XIX of 1923) by the said Judge till his security clearance by the quarters concerned (Interior Division).
However, the PTI rejected it, with Raoof Hasan saying that notification is a sheer violation of a fair trial, which is not acceptable.
He demanded that the Law Ministry’s notification must be withdrawn immediately and the case against PTI chief and Qureshi should be heard in an open court.
The PTI chief was arrested by the FIA in the cipher case on August 29 and Qureshi on August 19.
The cipher case is related to “misuse” of alleged contents of a diplomatic cipher, cited by ex-premier Imran as proof of an attempt to remove his government, in which Qureshi was foreign minister.