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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) asked questions from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor about the significance and confidentiality of the cypher.

A special bench of the IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, on Monday, heard the appeals of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi against their convictions in the cypher case.

At the onset of the hearing, Justice Aamer asked the FIA Prosecutor, Hamid Ali Shah, to define what a cypher is. He also asked was this cypher a secret document or every cypher is a secret document.

Hamid replied that every coded document is a secret document by law. The FIA prosecutor submitted a book related to cypher guidelines before the court.

The IHC CJ asked that is this booklet also a confidential document. The prosecutor said that this book is for official use only and it is classified. He added that this book has been issued in the name of the deputy attorney general so that it remains here until the judgment of the court is written.

Justice Aamer remarked that they do not know specifically what the cypher is. The prosecutor said the codes can be broken if the cypher of text is known. He further said that there are three forms of cypher, coded, clear, and the third is literal and literal means what is actually said is told. He maintained that not only the cypher but its text also has to be preserved.

Justice Miangul Hassan asked did someone intercept the cypher. The FIA prosecutor said that the coded cypher was not intercepted at any level. The judge further asked where it is written that a document coming from a diplomatic mission will be deemed a cypher. The IHC bench inquired from the prosecutor to tell the court how the cypher is an accountable document. Justice Aamer asked whether these cypher guidelines are instructions from the Cabinet Division to the Ministries or is it a law. He further questioned whether the cypher guidelines booklet was produced before the trial court.

Hamid replied that arguments were given but a copy was not produced before the court.

Justice Hassan then asked did any witnesses say anything about the contents of the cypher. Justice Aamer inquired did the cipher copy was also not provided to the investigating officer. Justice Aurangzeb said here you are going to convict a man and there is a procedure to show this document to the court. He asked whether the prosecution was seeking a death sentence from the trial court and the prosecution still did not show the document in the trial court.

Justice Miangul Hassan remarked that Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi may not have had this booklet of guidelines that if it was lost, what would be the consequences, so the question is; did Azam Khan inform Imran Khan about its contents? He said it is a criminal case and all benefit of doubt would go to them. Justice Aamer also stated that of course, it is a criminal case; even the slightest benefit of doubt will go to the accused.

Later, the bench deferred the hearing of the case until today (Tuesday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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