Cipher case: Special court extends Imran Khan’s judicial remand till September 13

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: A special court judge on Wednesday granted 14-day judicial remand of former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the missing cipher case till September 13.

Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain held the hearing of the case at the Attock Jail and remanded him into judicial custody for another 14 days till Sept 13 after taking attendance.

The FIA sought former prime minister’s remand in the case.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan appeared before the special court judge along with his legal team comprising Barrister Salman Safdar, Intizar Panjotha, Naeem Panjotha and Ali Ijaz.

The FIA team led by Assistant Director Azmat was also present in the court.

The PTI chairman’s legal team submitted a petition seeking his post-arrest bail application and requested the special court to accept his bail in the case.

They argued that registration of a case against the PTI chairman under the Official Secrets Act was illegal, saying that the cipher case was made for political revenge.

It should be noted that Chairman PTI is on judicial remand in the cipher case. The FIA had sought physical remand of Chairman PTI on August 16. However, the court did not accept the request and sent him to jail on judicial remand.

According to sources, physical custody or remand cannot be sought in the same case, now the challan will be submitted and the trial will go on, but the accused can also apply for bail.

Judge Zulqarnain who is an anti-terrorism court judge has been assigned an additional duty to conduct hearings of cases registered under the Official Secrets Act.

The Ministry of Law and Justice issued notification regarding the holding of cipher case trial of Imran Khan at Attock Jail.

PTI lawyer Barrister Salman Safdar said that they came to know only last night that Imran Khan’s trial in cipher case would be held at Attock Jail due to security concerns.

He wondered that Imran had been appearing in the court for a year and there were no security issues. He was of the view that Islamabad Judicial Complex was an extremely secured area. He further said that no place was more secure than the anti-terrorism court.

He termed the trial at the jail facility unconstitutional and against the law.

He said that he would submit the PTI chairman’s bail petition during the hearing.

Former premier is facing charges under the Official Secrets Act in the missing cipher case.

The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday issued the release order of the PTI chairman after suspending his sentence in in the Toshakhana case awarded by a sessions court judge Hamayun Dilawar who convicted and sentenced him to three years in jail.

However, the special court hearing cases under the Official Secrets Act and comprising Judge Zulqarnain directed the Attock Jail authorities yesterday to keep Imran in “judicial lockup” and produce him on Aug 30 in connection with the cipher case.

In a letter addressed to the Attock jail superintendent, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain said: “That accused Imran Khan Niazi s/o Ikramullah Khan Niazi r/o Zaman Park, Lahore is hereby ordered for judicial remand in case FIR mentioned above, who is already detained in district jail, Attock.”

Later, the Law Ministry issued a notification the same day, saying the interior ministry had conveyed security concerns to it in a letter and the Law and Justice Division had “no objection” to Imran’s trial in the cipher case being held at Attock jail on Aug 30.

However, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf rejected the decision to transfer the trial of Chairman Imran Khan to Attock Jail, a spokesperson said describing it as a dictatorial and unconstitutional move.

The party made a request to the Supreme Court to take immediate notice of the unconstitutional move.

It also appealed to local and international human rights organizations to raise their voices effectively against this illegal, unconstitutional and dictatorial move.

“The constitution gives every citizen the fundamental right to a fair trial. Like ToshaKhana, the basis of injustice has been laid in the cipher case too,” the spokesperson said.

He added that under Section 167, Chairman Imran Khan was remanded without fulfilling the basic legal requirement of appearing in court.

The PTI spokesperson continued: “Now a shameful attempt is being made to establish a new tradition of killing justice through a secret trial in the jail.

“We reject the ministry’s approval to transfer the trial of Imran Khan to Attock Jail.

“The case should be conducted in an open court in the presence of media and lawyers.

“A secret trial or any verdict pronounced as a result of it will not be legal.

“Playing with law and justice should be stopped and the PTI chairman should not be subjected to unfair, illegal and discriminatory trial.”