A special court established under the Official Secrets Act extended Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s judicial remand till September 13 in the cipher case, hearing of which was held at the Attock District Jail, sources told Geo News.
Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, who arrived at the jail to conduct the hearing, issued the decision in the case of the missing cipher, a classified state document that Khan had waved during his political gathering ahead of his ouster from office last year.
Hearing of the case took place at the Attock District Jail following approval by the Law Ministry amid security concerns expressed by the Interior Ministry.
Khan has been imprisoned in the said jail since his conviction in the Toshakhana case on August 5 for failing to properly declare gifts he received while in office.
While the Islamabad High Court, a day earlier, overturned a lower court’s decision to jail him for three years with a Rs100,000 fine — a judgment that kept him from contesting upcoming elections, he remains behind bars due to his judicial remand in the cipher case till August 30.
Meanwhile, sources told Geo News that Khan’s five-member legal team — headed by Advocate Salman Safdar — attended the court hearing in the prison.
PTI chief’s legal team comprising Naeem Haider Panjotha, Salman Safdar, Intizar Panjotha, Ali Ijaz Buttar and Umair Niazi were earlier denied request for meeting Khan, but were later allowed entry inside the jail.
The police had earlier only permitted Safdar to enter the Attock jail premises.
On the other hand, one of Khan’s counsels, 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.
Qureshi to appear before special court
Meanwhile, Shah Mahmood Qureshi will also be produced at the judicial complex in relation to the cipher case today after his two-day remand is completed today, the sources said.
Qureshi’s lawyer and PTI leader, Babar Awan, will be representing him at the court.
Khan’s lawyers sense ‘manipulation’ in jail detention
The PTI chairman’s lawyers claim that a “manipulation of justice” was keeping him behind bars.
According to his lawyers, the deposed prime minister — who was ousted from office after a no-confidence motion last year — was granted bail and expected to be released from Attock Jail, where he had been locked for the last three weeks.
However, they said on Tuesday afternoon Khan remained in detention because of a previous arrest, made in secret, over a case alleging he had leaked the cipher.
A day earlier, one of his lawyers told reporters outside the prison, which was surrounded by patrolling police units, that Khan was “on judicial remand” and would appear before a special court in Islamabad on Wednesday.
“He was arrested prior to today’s court ruling. The exact date of his arrest remains unclear,” another lawyer, Gohar Khan, told AFP by phone.
Another, Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen, said “his legal team was intentionally left uninformed and kept in the dark”.
“This constitutes a manipulation of justice,” he said.
Since his ouster, the PTI chairman has been embroiled in more than 200 cases and had been previously denied bail in at least nine other cases, including three in anti-terrorism courts and six in the district courts in Islamabad.
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