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ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister Imran Khan approached the Supreme Court (SC) seeking post-arrest bail in the ‘missing cipher’ case.

Imran Khan, on Friday, filed a petition in this regard through advocate Salman Safdar. In his appeal, he challenged the Islamabad High Court (IHC)’s verdict against halting the proceedings of the cipher case against him, dismissing his petitions and allowing interrogation.

The PTI chief has prayed to the Supreme Court to grant him post-arrest bail in the case in the “interest of justice and fair play”.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq on October 27 rejected Imran’s petitions seeking post-arrest bail and the quashment of the case.

The IHC chief justice noted in his written order that petition for quashing of FIR, as well as, bail application are without merit and are accordingly dismissed.

Imran Khan in his appeal raised 15 questions of law. Among the questions, Khan wants the Supreme Court to consider whether the courts that rejected his bail plea took into consideration that the cipher case was “politically motivated”.

He also questioned the role of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) jurisdiction in the case and its “malafide intentions and ulterior motives”. “Whether Ministry of Interior correctly assumed the role of complainant excluding Ministry of Foreign Affairs which actually handles “cipher telegram” and whether the minister of interior under whose direct supervision Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) operates was not a political opponent of the petitioner,” asked Imran.

The petition also wants the top court to determine whether the Islamabad High Court “failed to properly understand and appreciate that the petitioner as prime minister of Pakistan did not violate the oath and also enjoyed “immunity” as provided under Article 248”.

The IHC order said that the reading the contents of section 5 in juxtaposition with the allegations levelled in the case against the petitioner shows that prima facie section 5 is attracted in the facts and circumstances of the instant case inasmuch as it is the case of the prosecution that cipher, in its decoded form, was transmitted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and was duly received by the prime minister (the petitioner) and he apparently lost the said document and/ or twisted contents of the same for his political benefits and also made the contents thereof public.”

Justice Aamer added, he (Imran) was not authorised to do so as per section 5, it is reiterated that petitioner received the contents/ information contained in cipher by virtue of his position as the then Prime Minister of the country and its communication with public at large in a political speech on 27.03.2022 tantamount to divulging contents thereof to the public, which they were not authorized to receive, as the same were secret and classified [this part of the offence prima facie falls under subsection (a) of section 5(1)].

He further said that in so far as the aspect of losing the cipher is concerned, subsection (d) of section 5(1) is attracted which attracts punishment up to two years. The IHC bench stated that the question whether petitioner was authorised to divulge the contents of cipher in a political speech, the petitioner has relied upon the oath of the Prime Minister as contained in 3rd Schedule to the Constitution made pursuant to Article 91 (5) of the Constitution.

It also said, “It is part of the oath of the Prime Minister to perform his duties with the best of his ability and always in the interest of sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Pakistan and strive to preserve the Islamic Ideology.

It is also an obligation of the Office of the Prime Minister as per the oath not to directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person, which is brought to his consideration or become known to him as prime minister except as required for the due discharge of his duties as the prime minister.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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