Special Court Hearing Cipher Case Allows Imran Khan To Have Telephonic Conversation With Sons


Special Court hearing Cipher case allows Imran Khan to have telephonic conversation with sons

The lawyer emphasized that the applicant possessed the legal right to engage in telephonic interactions with his sons, and based on regulations, he was entitled to such communication.

ISLAMABAD: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-August 31st, 2023) A special court with jurisdiction over cases involving the Official Secrets Act has granted former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is presently incarcerated at Attock Jail, permission to have a telephonic conversation with his sons, as allowed by the law.

Imran Khan had submitted a request before Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, seeking authorization for a phone call with his sons. The special court subsequently approved the request.

In the application, Imran Khan's legal counsel, Barrister Umer Khan Niazi, highlighted that the applicant wanted to communicate with his biological sons, Suleman Khan and Qasim Khan, via telephone or WhatsApp.

The lawyer emphasized that the applicant possessed the legal right to engage in telephonic interactions with his sons, and based on regulations, he was entitled to such communication.

The plea requested that the superintendent of District Jail Attock facilitate a telephone/WhatsApp conversation between Imran Khan and his sons.

In response, Judge Zulqarnain endorsed the plea and instructed the prison authorities to arrange the telephonic discussion between Imran Khan and his sons, ensuring compliance with the applicable regulations.

Earlier on the same day, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had solicited responses from the law ministry and other relevant parties regarding Imran Khan's objection to moving the hearing of the cipher case from Islamabad to Attock Jail.

This move followed Imran Khan's filing of a petition in the court against the decision, shortly after a hearing related to the cipher case took place in the office of the deputy superintendent of the Attock district jail. This hearing occurred subsequent to Imran Khan's conviction in the Toshakhana graft case.

The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document allegedly missing from Imran Khan's possession. The PTI alleges that this document contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran Khan from power. Proceedings related to the same case are also underway against Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the PTI vice chairman and former foreign minister.

Additionally, Imran Khan had challenged the appointment of Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge, to the special court designated for Official Secrets Act cases.

After the Islamabad High Court suspended Imran Khan's sentence in the Toshkhana case, the special court directed Attock jail authorities to place him in "judicial lockup" and produce him the following day for the cipher case.

A subsequent notification from the law ministry, based on "security concerns," indicated that the Law and Justice Division had no objection to conducting Imran Khan's trial for the cipher case at Attock jail.

As a result, Judge Zulqarnain presided over an in-camera hearing of the cipher case against Imran Khan at the jail, extending his judicial remand.

In the present hearing at the IHC, Imran Khan's counsel raised objections presented by the court's registrar upon filing the petition. One of these objections concerned the inclusion of multiple requests in the same petition.

Justice Farooq of the IHC suggested that arguments on merit could address these objections and inquired about the shifting of the court venue. The lawyer contended that assigning an anti-terrorism court judge to a case under the Official Secrets Act was inappropriate.

The IHC Chief Justice agreed to issue notices to respondents and set the next hearing for the coming week due to the urgency of the matter.

Imran Khan's petition, filed through PTI lawyer Sher Afzal Marwat, contested the appointment of the special court judge and the venue change for the trial. The petition also objected to the law ministry's notification regarding the prison trial.

It argued that the special court judge lacked the necessary qualification and that designating an ATC judge to hear Official Secrets Act cases was contrary to the law.

Furthermore, the petition criticized the production order issued by the judge, the security concerns conveyed by the interior ministry, and the change in trial venue.

It contended that the trial should be held openly, allowing access to all parties concerned. The petition also maintained that the venue of the trial could not be altered during the pre-trial stage.

Ultimately, the petition emphasized the need for a fair trial and justice. The next date of the hearing is in the office.

Abdullah Hussain

Abdullah Hussain is a staff member who writes on politics, human rights, social issues and climate change.