Imran Khan’s judicial remand in cipher case extended by 14 days
A special court under the Official Secrets Act extended PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s judicial remand by 14 days on Wednesday. The hearing was held at the Attock District Jail following approval by the Law Ministry amid security concerns. Khan will remain in detention until September 13.
Khan has been imprisoned in Attock Jail since his conviction in the Toshakhana case on August 5. While the Islamabad High Court overturned the lower court’s decision to jail him for three years with a fine, he remains behind bars due to his judicial remand in the cipher case.
The FIA had arrested Khan in the cipher case earlier this month and booked him under the Official Secrets Act. He was sent on judicial remand in the case until August 30.
At the hearing on Wednesday, PTI lawyer Salman Safdar filed a post-arrest bail application and requested that the case be heard in an open court. The court issued a notice to all parties to the case, seeking their responses by September 2.
PTI lawyers have also filed a petition in the special court to declare the jail trial notification “illegal”. They have also sought the former premier’s post-arrest bail.
Khan’s five-member legal team, headed by Advocate Salman Safdar, arrived at the prison ahead of the hearing. They were initially denied entry, but were later allowed to meet their client.
One of Khan’s counsels, Ali Ijaz Buttar, questioned the former prime minister’s remand.
“We have many questions. When was the PTI chairman remanded? How was the remand made possible without telling the party chief and his lawyers?” he asked.
Imran Khan’s arrest in cipher case a surprise, says lawyer
PTI chief counsel Salman Safdar said on Wednesday that the former prime minister was arrested in the cipher case 15 days ago, when he was serving his sentence at Attock Jail.
Safdar said that Khan did not even know that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had made his arrest in the cipher case as well. He said that the PTI chief has been on judicial remand in the cipher case because the court rejected the FIA’s request for physical remand.
Safdar said that they have moved an application for Khan’s bail in the cipher case, and that the hearing of the application will be held on September 2. He also said that another plea had been moved to conduct an open hearing of the case.
Speaking on the occasion, Safdar also shared Khan’s view on allegations of misplacing the cipher, quoting him as saying that the original copy of the diplomatic document was with the Foreign Office and it was never lost.
Safdar also maintained that following the declassification of the cipher by the then Imran Khan-led government in 2022, the Official Secrets Act could not be applied in this case. He said that the act can only be applied to cases in matters related to spying and other sensitive matters.
“A former prime minister and foreign minister’s prosecution under the Official Secrets Act is highly condemnable and concerning. The FIA’s jurisdiction does not apply in this matter and the FIR should not have been registered,” he said, speaking to journalists outside the jail premises.