Special court to hold cipher case trial in Adiala jail in open court

Special court to hold cipher case trial in Adiala jail in open court

Islamabad (Web Desk): The special court on Tuesday ruled that the trial proceedings of a cipher case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former premier Imran Khan will be conduct at the Adiala jail but in an open court.

Special court Judge Zulqarnain presided over the hearing at the FJC, where Barrister Salman Safdar appeared as Imran’s counsel while Advocate Ali Bukhari was present as Qureshi’s lawyer. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutors Shah Khawar and Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi also appeared before the court.

Citing “serious security risks”, Adiala jail authorities failed to present the former premier today before the special court at Islamabad’s Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) as per the orders of the same court’s judge.

During the hearing, the jail authorities submitted their report to the court, which Judge Zulqarnain reviewed.

"The cipher trial will take place in jail in light of the security report by the superintendent of Adiala Jail," the court ruled.

The order said that the next hearing of the case would take place at Adiala jail. The court also stated that the proceedings can be attended by anyone who wishes to do so including the journalists.

The court also noted that five family members of the suspect would be allowed to attend the proceedings. Judge Zulqarnain adjourned the hearing till December 1. 
Last week, the court ordered authorities to present PTI chief Imran Khan and vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi at Islamabad's Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) today.

However, today the Adiala jail authorities failed to produce the former prime minister before the special court citing "security risks" in their report despite the orders to present him at the FJC.

The orders were issued in the first hearing of the cipher case that held outside the Adiala prisons after the Islamabad High Court's (IHC) decision to nullify the August 29 notification for a jail trial.

Judge Zulqarnain of the special court has been conducting the trial in jail citing security concerns since Khan was indicted on the charges last month.

In August of this year, Khan and Qureshi were booked under the Official Secrets Act 1923 in the cipher case after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) invoked Section 5 of the said law.
Former premier Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, both are in Adiala jail, were indicted in the case on Oct 23. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The cipher was about former Pakistan ambassador to the US Majeed's meeting with Lu.

The former prime minister, claiming that he was reading contents from the cipher, said that "all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power".

Later, after his removal, then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif’ cabinet gave the green signal to initiate action against the former prime minister and handed over the case to the FIA.