ISLAMABAD: The Special Court established under the Official Secrets Act directed the Adiala Jail superintendent on Monday to produce former prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi before it tomorrow (Wednesday) in the cipher case.
Separately, the Islamabad High Court remanded to the relevant trial courts a set of petitions filed by the PTI chairman, seeking bail in nine cases.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had on Sept 30 submitted a challan (charge sheet) to the Special Court, declaring both Mr Khan and Mr Qureshi as principal accused in a case registered under sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act for disclosing the contents of a classified diplomatic cable and misplacing the same.
Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain issued the notice to the jail superintendent, asking the latter to ensure the presence of both PTI leaders on Oct 4.
Ruling reserved on pleas for in-camera proceedings; court sends PTI chief’s bail petitions to trial courts
The special prosecutor argued before the court that since the proceedings against Mr Khan are being conducted in-camera, the hearing on the bail petition could not be held in the open court.
He argued that the case is of a sensitive nature and the prosecution has to rely on classified documents during the course of the hearing and requested the court to hear the bail matter in camera.
Justice Farooq observed that the decision on the bail petition would have to be made public and all the contentions of the prosecution and the defence lawyer would be incorporated in the court’s decision.
He questioned the logic of holding in-camera proceedings in such a scenario.
Cases sent back to trial courts
Out of the nine cases remanded to the trial court by the IHC, five were registered prior to the May 9 violent protests, three are related to roadblocks and attacks on police officials and one concerns the selling of Toshkhana gifts on a fake receipt.
Mr Khan was on pre-arrest interim bail in all these cases. However, following his arrest pursuant to conviction in the Toshakhana case, Anti-Terrorism Court judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain dismissed three bail petitions while additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Tahir Abbasi Sipra rejected six for non-prosecution.
During the course of arguments, Mr Khan’s counsel told an IHC division bench that the bail pleas were dismissed on technical grounds and with the sole reason that the former PM was not in attendance.
He argued that Mr Khan was in custody and could not appear on his own. He requested the court to set aside the orders dismissing the petitions.
The IHC bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri allowed the petitions and remanded the cases to the trial courts.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi has filed a petition in the IHC seeking protection of her husband. She expressed the apprehension that the jail administration might poison the meal of her husband and sought permission for homemade food for the detained PTI chief.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2023