Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 2 (ANI): A special court formed under the Official Secrets Act has summoned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case on October 4, Pakistan-based Geo News reported.

The judge has ordered the Adiala jail superintendent to produce Khan and Qureshi before the court on October 4. Special court judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain issued notices to respondents and said that statements of witnesses were sufficient to summon the accused in the court.

The development comes two days after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted the challan (charge sheet) in the cipher case against the two leaders. In its challan, the FIA stated that Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi were found guilty in the matter and requested the court to carry out their trial and sentence them in the case.

The sources revealed that former PTI secretary-general Asad Umar's name has not been included in the list of accused. Furthermore, Imran Khan's former principal secretary Azam Khan has been named as a "strong witness" in the case, according to Geo News report.

The FIA has also attached the statements of Azam Khan, recorded under Sections 161 and 164, alogn with the challan, according to sources. The sources said that former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has kept the cipher to himself and misused the state secret, Geo News reported.

According to sources, Khan had a copy of the cipher. However, he did not return it. The agency has also attached the transcript of Khan and Qureshi's speech that he made on March 27, 2022, when the former Pakistan PM brandished a letter claiming it was a cipher from a foreign nation, which wanted his government to be removed from power.

The FIA also submitted a list of 28 witnesses to the court with the challan after recording their statements. According to sources, the names of former foreign secretaries Asad Majeed, Sohail Mehmood and the then additional foreign secretary Faisal Niaz Tirmizi have also included in the list of witnesses.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday rejected a challan submitted by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and called for the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the cipher case, Pakistan-based ARY News reported.

In a statement issued on September 30, the PTI spokesperson called the challan submitted against PTI chairman Imran Khan and vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi "meaningless and bogus as cipher case," ARY News reported.

The special court on September 26 extended the judicial remand of the PTI chairman and vice-chairman till October 10 in the cipher case.

The controversy regarding cipher started on March 27, 2022, when Imran Khan before his ouster while addressing a public rally waved a letter before the crowd, claiming that it was a cipher from a foreign nation that had conspired with his political rivals to remove his government.

PTI chairman did not speak about what was mentioned in the letter or the name of the nation it came from. A few days later, he accused the United States of conspiring against him and alleged that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal.

Khan claimed that he was reading content from the cipher and said that "all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power." On March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) decided to issue a "strong demarche" to the US for its "blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan".

After Imran Khan's removal, Pakistan's then-Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif convened a meeting of the NSC and concluded that it had found no evidence regarding a foreign conspiracy in the cable, Geo News reported.

Following this, two audio leaks shocked the public in which the former Pakistan PM, then-federal minister Asad Umar, and then-principle secretary Azam Khan could allegedly be heard discussing the US cipher and how to use it to their benefit, according to Geo News report.

On September 30, the federal cabinet constituted a committee to carry out investigation into the contents of the audio leaks. In October, the cabinet gave approval to initiate action against Imran Khan and handed over the case to the FIA.

After the FIA was asked to investigate the matter, the agency summoned Khan, Umar, and other leaders of the party. However, Imran Khan challenged the summons and secured a stay order from the court. In July this year, the Lahore High Court recalled the stay order against the call-up notice to Khan by the FIA. (ANI)

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