ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor, Wednesday, submitted an application before the Islamabad High Court (IHC), seeking its permission to present US Diplomat Donald Lu’s statement before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as evidence in the cipher case.

In this regard, the FIA prosecutor submitted the application to present additional documents before the division bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb.

The bench is hearing the appeals of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi against their convictions in the cipher case.

US Congressional hearing: Donald Lu says Imran’s cypher allegation ‘complete falsehood’

During the hearing, FIA Special Prosecutor Hamid Ali Shah did not appear before the court due to the illness of his mother; therefore, Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi argued the case.

The IHC chief justice asked that has prosecution submitted any application and Naqvi replied in affirmative. The PTI lawyer Salman Safdar termed it as a bad move of the prosecution at this stage. He said that he had been arguing the case for the last two and a half months and yesterday, the case had been concluded but today, the FIA special prosecutor did not appear before the court.

Justice Hassan asked whether the FIA prosecutor intended to present Donald Lu before the court. Naqvi said they wanted to present as evidence what Donald Lu said before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

At that, the bench said that in criminal law, first, you have to prove whether that testimony is relevant or not. The FIA prosecutor said that they would bring the evidence after the court approves it. The IHC chief justice said that you want to bring additional evidence when the appeal is about to be completed.

He also said that with the necessary evidentiary reasons you have to state why you are filing an application to present this additional evidence at this stage as there are serious reservations on it.

Justice Hassan asked the FIA prosecutor that you wanted to prolong this case for two or three months. He added that first testimony from abroad will be brought then, it will be confirmed, then the witness will come and at the end, the evidence will be cross-examined. In my view, this is a misuse of the process, said the judge.

The IHC chief justice directed Naqvi to present the arguments on Thursday if Hamid Shah does not appear.

Later, the bench asked the Advocate General Islamabad and Malik Abdul Rehman advocate the state counsel appointed in the matter before the trial and asked questions from them regarding the process of his appointment.

Then, the bench deferred the hearing of the case till Thursday (today) for further proceedings.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Aam Aadmi May 23, 2024 08:15am
Much ado about nothing. This is waste of time of all those involved though as a nation damn we care about 'time'. The only department to interpret cipher is the Foreign Office which is quiet.
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KU May 23, 2024 09:14am
What waste of resources! And where are FIAs pleas for investigation on wheat scandal or rising cases of kidnapping for ransom or on-line financial scams? Dangerous grounds we are treading on now.
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Ch K A Nye May 23, 2024 04:59pm
@KU, The FIA will investigate what they're told to investigate. They will enter pleas as directed by the Boss.
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