The special court of Official Secrets Act has declared that the next hearing of the cipher case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be held in jail.
Announcing his verdict reserved a short while ago, Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqernain remarked that jail authorities and security agencies had expressed security concerns, so the next hearing will be held in the jail, but in open court.
The media and public members will be allowed to attend the hearing. As was practised earlier, five members of each suspect will also be allowed to sit through the hearing.
The next hearing in the cipher case will be held in Adiala Jail on Friday.
Earlier today, the special court reserved its verdict on whether PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi would be produced in court or not after jail officials excused themselves from doing so.
Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqernain heard the cipher case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Imran Khan’s lawyer, Salman Safdar, told the court that two separate cases were being heard by the court today, including the cipher case and three bail applications. He added that he hoped his client would be produced in court, but he hasn’t been. He further suggested the case was being heard in haste.
A jail official presented a report regarding Imran Khan’s production in court. The judge remarked that, according to jail officials, the suspect could not be produced in court.
The Adiala Jail superintendent excused himself from the court in writing for not producing the PTI chairman. FIA Prosecutor Shah Khawar read out the letter from the jail superintendent.
The letter states that according to reports from sensitive institutions and the police, the life of the suspect is in danger. The suspect cannot be produced in court, it states.
In response, the lawyer argued that the decisions of the special court and high court were being violated. “What is the interest of the superintendent in keeping the PTI chairman in jail?” Safdar said.
The jail report stated that the Islamabad police had written a letter informing them that Imran Khan had security risks. The letter is limited to Imran Khan and not Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the lawyer remarked, asking why the latter had not been produced yet.
He further suggested that, if there were security threats, the case should be adjourned indefinitely. “The case cannot be heard in jail and the prosecution does not want it to proceed here in court. In this case, the suspects should be granted bail,” Safdar argued.
Qureshi’s lawyer, Ali Bukhari, asked why his client had not been produced when no charges have been framed or an investigation report has been shared with the suspect. He then asked the judge to get his own order implemented.
Judge Zulqernain then remarked that the media and the public should have access to the court. The judge then reserved the verdict on whether Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood would be produced in the judicial complex or not.
Meanwhile, during an interesting interaction in the court, Judge Zulqarnain’s reader reached on the next day of his valima. At this point, Ali Bukhari said the court should grant the reader an early leave as he had come on the next day of his valima.
Salman Safdar said if the reader can come to court by jeopardising his life, why can the PTI chairman not? These remarks elicited huge laughter in court.
The judge remarked that the reader has not put his life on the line but has come to court to save his life.