The Islamabad High Court (IHC) delivered its judgment on Friday, dismissing former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s pleas for bail and the cancellation of the first information report (FIR) in the cipher case. IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the court’s decision, which had been reserved on October 16 after arguments from both sides were presented.
Furthermore, the IHC also rejected Imran Khan’s petitions to halt the trial in this matter. In its written verdict, the court declared both of Imran Khan’s applications as “without merit” and dismissed them accordingly. The court emphasized that any observations made in the judgment were tentative in nature and should not prejudice the trial court.
The case involved accusations that the PTI chief, during his tenure as Prime Minister, used classified information inappropriately and shared it with unauthorized individuals, compromising the security of Pakistan. Imran Khan had challenged the registration of the FIR against him and had sought bail. His legal team argued that the FIR was invalid because the cipher had been declassified by the federal cabinet of the former prime minister.
Imran Khan’s counsel contended that the Official Secrets Act could not be applied to the cipher case, as the primary ingredient, sharing sensitive information with foreigners, was absent. However, the IHC ruled that the case under Section 5(1)(a) of the Official Secrets Act had serious allegations, and the punishment for such an offense could be death or imprisonment for up to fourteen years.
The court order further stated that there was no ground for further inquiry, as the prohibitory clause of Section 497 of the Code of Criminal Procedure applied to the situation. Additionally, the IHC noted that there could be no partial quashing of the FIR, as it had named multiple individuals.
In a Supreme Court verdict cited by the IHC, it was determined that the contents of the cipher warranted demarche but not further strict action, as there was no conspiracy involved.
Imran Khan’s political engagements, particularly when addressing public gatherings, were stated to be separate from his duties as Prime Minister in the judgment.
Imran Khan and his party’s vice-chairman, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, have been indicted for allegedly misusing the classified document for political gains. They are currently in custody at Adiala jail.
While the hearing of witness statements was scheduled for October 31, the last hearing at the special court formed under the Official Secrets Act was postponed. The court decided to delay witness statements, as the matter of Imran Khan’s bail was still under consideration in the IHC.
Imran Khan expressed concerns about his safety while in jail, fearing another attempt on his life, possibly through slow poisoning, as he has no intention of leaving the country. He urged the public to remain vigilant and committed to their struggle for rights and their country’s freedom.