Cipher case: Imran, Qureshi’s bail pleas unheard as judge goes on leave

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The PTI lawyers have reached the court of Judge Raja Jawad Abbas for the bail of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case as the special court judge who conducts hearing of cases registered under the Official Secrets Act has gone on leave.

PTI lawyers Salman Safdar and Babar Awan appeared in Judge Abbas’s court on Monday requesting him to conduct a hearing on the bail applications of Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi as the special court judge went on week-long leave.

However, Judge Abbas told them that he could hear the anti-terrorism court cases as a duty judge, but he was not authorized to hear cases registered under the Official Secrets Act. He advised the PTI lawyers that they should submit an application to the high court, and if the high court ordered him then he could hear their bail pleas.

Judge Abbas said that he was the admin judge of 24 courts. He also read out the procedure under which the judges perform their duties. He said the Official Secrets Act court was not among the 24 courts under his jurisdiction. He said that only the high court could authorize him to hear the Official Secrets Act cases.

The PTI lawyers requested the judge to help them out.

The judge said there were only two ways: either they should move to the high court or wait till Sept 9 when Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain would be back on duty.

Then PTI lawyer Salman Safdar requested Judge Abbas to give them in writing that he had no authority to hear their bail applications so that they could fill up the form to obtain the high court’s order.

However, the prosecution team opposed the PTI lawyers’ request.