IHC to hear Imran’s bail plea in cipher case on 25th

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has fixed for hearing the post-arrest bail plea filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the cipher case, in which he is currently incarcerated at the Attock jail, it emerged on Saturday.

The court will take up the petition on Sep 25 (Monday), and IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq will preside over the proceedings.

The court has issued a notice to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to present arguments in the case. Imran had approached the IHC after the special court — established to hear cases filed under the Official Secrets Act — rejected the ex-premier’s plea seeking the same. The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document which reportedly went missing from Imran’s possession. The PTI alleges that it contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran from power.

Imran and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had been attending hearings in the case, while PTI leader Asad Umar’s and former principal secretary Azam Khan’s involvement was supposed to be determined during the course of the investigation. While Umar was granted pre-arrest bail last week, Imran and Qureshi were denied post-arrest bail, and their judicial remand — which was extended — will complete on September 26.

Imran had on Sep 16 filed the petition, a copy of which is available, through his lawyer Barrister Salman Safdar. The state and Interior Ministry Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokar are respondents in the case. The petition urged the IHC to grant Imran post-arrest bail till the final disposal of the cipher case “to meet the ends of justice”.

The plea claimed that nearly 200 criminal cases have been filed against the former premier, out of which “almost 40 cases are [on] charges of corruption, murder, sedition, mutiny, foreign funding, NAB (National Accountability Bureau) reference and Toshakhana reference”. It argued that the PTI chief could not avail remedy under section 498 (power to direct admission to bail or reduction of bail) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The petition alleged that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) operated at the behest of the then interior ministry. It added that the matter of the case not being registered by the foreign ministry had gone unnoticed by Special Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain. “Never before, history has witnessed the ‘arrest’ and ‘prosecution’ of a former prime minister (Imran) and a former foreign minister (Qureshi) under this law (Secrets Act),” the plea stated.