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Pakistan: Another setback for Imran Khan as court extends judicial remand till Oct 10 in cipher case

Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi were booked under the Official Secrets Act last month by the FIA for allegedly misplacing a classified document.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Islamabad Published on: September 26, 2023 12:17 IST
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Image Source : PTI Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Imprisoned former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's legal troubles refuse to come to an end as a special court extended his and his party's vice-president Shah Mahmood Qureshi's judicial remand till October 10 in the cipher case on Tuesday.

According to Geo News, the special court hearing was presided over by Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain at the Attock Jail in the presence of a team from Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Qureshi, the second-in-command of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was brought to the court in handcuffs by a FIA team.

Imran and Qureshi were booked under the Official Secrets Act last month by the FIA for allegedly misplacing and misusing a classified document for "vested political interests". Qureshi was arrested in August from his residence in Islamabad and sent to 14-day judicial remand.

Meanwhile, the ousted Prime Minister, who was convicted for concealing gifts received from the Toshakhana repository, was rearrested in the cipher case after getting bail in the graft case.

Interacting with media personnel, PTI lawyer Latif Khosa alleged that the law and constitution was being violated in the country and that Imran would have been released on bail already if the FIA had submitted the "challan" in court.

Imran Khan's legal woes

After his imprisonment on August 5, Imran Khan's efforts to secure bail have been repeatedly thwarted with multiple extensions. Earlier this month, the special court extended his and Qureshi's custody till September 26. Imran's custody was earlier extended from August 30 till September 13.

This comes despite the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspending the conviction and the three-year sentence in the Toshakhana case. The IHC has ordered the authority to keep him in police custody as he has been facing multiple charges.

Recently, the IHC has asked for the cricketer-turned-politician to be shifted from Attock Jail to Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail. Imran and his allies have alleged poor safety standards and facilities in his cell in Attock prison.

His close ally, former Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, was arrested by authorities on September 17. The 72-year-old Awami Muslim League (AML) leader was arrested from his residence in Rawalpindi by men clad in plain clothes and was transferred to an undisclosed location, claimed his nephew.

About the cipher case

Last year, Imran Khan alleged that the US orchestrated a plan to remove him from office and brandished a cipher at a public rally to back his claims. The US has time and again denied such allegations, terming them "categorically false".

According to Khan's then-principal secretary Azam Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief was allegedly “euphoric” after seeing the cipher and decided to use it to build an “anti-establishment narrative” on the back of a "blunder" committed by the US. 

“The cipher copy was retained by Imran Khan and the next day (March 10) when he asked for it, Imran Khan replied that he has misplaced it,” the confession statement said, adding that the PTI chief did not return the original cipher despite repeated requests.

On September 30, 2022, the federal cabinet of Pakistan under Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the matter and constituted a committee to probe the contents of the audio leaks. The FIA summoned Khan, Umar and other leaders of the party, but the PTI chief secured a stay order against such summons.

ALSO READ | Pakistan court summons Imran as cleric claims Islamic laws weren't followed during marriage with Bushra Bibi

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