Cipher case: Judge hearing Imran, Qureshi bail pleas goes on leave

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By Webdesk

PTI Chairman Imran Khan and vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi. — AFP/File
PTI Chairman Imran Khan and vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi. — AFP/File
  • Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain is on leave until Sep 8 due to wife’s illness.
  • PTI’s legal team files application in Judge Raja Javad Abbas’s court to hear bail plea.
  • Judge Abbas says he can’t hear cases fall under Official Secrets Act.

ISLAMABAD: Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain, who has been hearing bail pleas of incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in cipher case, has gone on leave until September 8.

The PTI’s legal team comprising counsels Babar Awan, Salman Safdar and Naeem Haider Panjotha reached courtroom where the staff apprised them that Judge Zulqarnain was on leave due to his wife’s illness.

Lawyer Safdar requested the court staff to fix the hearing of the case on Thursday. 

Meanwhile, the PTI’s legal team reached the courtroom of Judge Raja Javad Abbas and implored him to hear the bail plea.

At which, the judge replied that he could not hear the case as he was not the duty judge.

“There is no notification of the duty judge of the Official Secrets Act. If the Islamabad High Court can mark it, only then I can hear it,” Judge Abbas remarked. “I can hear cases of 24 courts as a duty judge but not to the extent of the Official Secrets Act.”

Lawyer Awan suggested filing an application and moving to the high court for the hearing of the bail pleas. Judge Abbas concurred with Awan’s suggestion and said the IHC would decide on the matter.  

Judge Abbas also questioned how his court could hear the cipher case since it falls under the purview of special court. He stated that he would hear PTI’s application at 12pm today to decide whether his court could hear the bail pleas of the PTI leaders. 

Last month, ATC-I Judge Zulqarnain was given an additional charge of the special court established under the Official Secrets Act to hear matter related to the diplomatic cipher that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said was misplaced and used by former PM Imran Khan for political purposes.   

The cipher case trial is being held in-camera. 

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