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Pakistan Supreme Court Grants Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi Bail In Cipher Case

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Supreme Court of Pakistan approved the post-arrest bail of former prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case in a hearing held on Friday.  

Both PTI leaders were directed by the top court to submit surety bonds of Pakistan Rupees 1 million each. The verdict was issued by a three-member bench headed by acting Chief Justice Safdar Tariq Masood, including Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on a set of PTI petitions.

 PTI founder had approached the Supreme Court for bail relief in the case after his petition was rejected by the Islamabad High Court on 27 October. However, Imran Khan will not be released from jail as he is currently under judicial remand in the 190 million pounds case, and also under arrest in the Toshakhana case, Tribune reported. 

The cipher case pertains to a confidential diplomatic document that the former prime minister waved public rally last year ahead of the vote of no confidence that he lost. Khan later claimed the involvement of the US government to oust him as prime minister. At the onset of his serious allegations, he faced legal consequences for the violation of the official Secret Act for misusing state secrets for personal interests.

The Special Court established under the Official Secret Act, began the cipher trial afresh last week at the Adiala district jail after Imran Khan and his aid Shah Mehmood Qureshi indicted for the second time in the case on 23 December.

The duo was first indicted in the case on 23 October, where both had pleaded not guilty. During the Adiala Jail trial, when four witnesses already recorded their statements, Islamabad High Court the government’s notification for a jail trial “erroneous” and disposed of the entire proceedings. The high court endorsed Khan’s indictment and disposed of his appeal but also ordered the Special Court to ensure a ‘fair trial’. 

Last month, PTI moved to the apex court to seek Imran’s post-trial bail in the case. As Tribune reported, during today’s hearing, Justice Masood remarked while expressing his displeasure with the proceedings in the lower court "Mashallah, the Islamabad High Court has already given a decision on the matter. The only job that appears to be remaining is providing [the accused] a noose". The acting chief justice then wondered how two National Security Council meetings were held on the issue if the cipher was missing. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah then asked the prosecution to clarify the basis for adding the provisions of the death penalty.

Justice Minallah also noted the way the trial was being proceeded, showing that the prosecution was violating the rules. He inquired FIA prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi “A decoded message is not the cipher,” He further remarked that a cipher literally meant a coded document. “Did the foreign secretary inform the PM that this document cannot be made public?” Justice Minallah asked. “He did mention it in the meeting,” Rizwan responded. “Why didn’t the secretary provide this information in a written document,” the judge asked.

Chief Justice also remarked that if the government wanted a repeat of the situation in 1970 and 1977. “Why does this happen with political leaders in every era,” He said that currently, the rights of the public were in question not the former premier. “This court is the guardian of fundamental rights. The former prime minister’s crime is not proven, he is innocent,” the judge added.

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Tags: Imran Khan Islamabad Shah Mehmood Qureshi Supreme Court of Pakistan Cipher Case Pakistan General Elections


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