Imran Khan has filed a plea for post-arrest bail in the “missing cypher” case. Imran Khan’s move comes after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected his earlier petitions seeking post-arrest bail and the dismissal of the first information report (FIR) related to the cypher case. The case revolves around allegations that Khan unlawfully possessed a diplomatic cypher, a violation of the Official Secrets Act, of 1923. Imran Khan filed his plea through his counsel, Salman Safdar, challenging the IHC’s verdict against halting the cypher case proceedings and allowing interrogation.
The Islamabad High Court’s decision to dismiss Imran Khan’s previous petitions and its observations regarding the application of the Official Secrets Act set the stage for the PTI chief’s latest legal move. The court ruled that Section 5(1)(a) of the Official Secrets Act, which pertains to wrongful communication of information, was applicable to Imran Khan, and he was not exempt from the legal process despite his status as a former premier. Furthermore, the court highlighted that, in his capacity as the prime minister, Imran Khan was not authorized to declassify the diplomatic cypher, emphasizing that the cypher was allegedly in his possession, as per the prosecution’s claims.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq’s ruling that Imran Khan’s petitions were “without merit” underscores the legal hurdles he faces in this case. The court pointed out that the PTI chairman had alternative legal avenues available under the Code of Criminal Procedure and emphasized that Imran Khan’s speech at a rally, which played a crucial role in the case, was a political engagement rather than part of his duties as the prime minister.
In a related development, a special court granted permission for Rawalpindi police to question Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, both of whom are incarcerated in Adiala jail. The interrogation is linked to cases stemming from the May 9 riots that followed the arrest of the former prime minister.
The “cypher case” centres around allegations that Imran Khan unlawfully possessed a diplomatic cypher and violated the Official Secrets Act. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted its charge sheet in the case on September 30, 2023. The agency accused Imran Khan of unlawfully holding the diplomatic cypher and also implicated PTI leader Qureshi for facilitating Khan in this matter. The charge sheet also referred to a speech made by Khan at a public rally in Islamabad on March 27, 2022, where he displayed a piece of paper, claiming it to be a diplomatic cypher. Imran Khan asserted that this cypher was evidence of an “international conspiracy” aimed at toppling his government.