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Key Decision Awaited on Imran Khan’s Bail Plea

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In a legal saga that has gripped the nation, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has taken a pivotal step by reserving its judgment on the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) application for an in-camera hearing in the bail application of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, linked to the enigmatic cipher case.

Chief Justice Aamir Farooq of the IHC presided over the proceedings, where the FIA put forth its fervent request for in-camera proceedings concerning Imran Khan’s bail plea.

During this high-stakes hearing, FIA prosecutor Shah Khawar made a compelling argument rooted in the Official Secrets Act, emphasizing that a trial of this nature cannot be conducted in an open court. However, Barrister Salman Safdar, Imran Khan’s legal representative, passionately opposed the miscellaneous application filed by the FIA.

Barrister Salman Safdar underscored a critical point, asserting that a request for in-camera proceedings should be directed to the trial court itself. He further added that, if there exist sensitive matters, they can be appropriately addressed within the confines of an in-chamber session.

In response, Prosecutor Shah Khawar emphasized the confidential nature of the cipher, highlighting that it is a classified document meticulously safeguarded from public scrutiny.

Explaining the significance of this cipher, it was noted that embassies send coded ciphers to the foreign ministry. Once decoded, copies are dispatched to key figures, including the president, prime minister, army chief, and ISI. However, these copies are later returned to the Foreign Office and subsequently discarded. Only the original cipher remains within the secure confines of the Foreign Ministry.

The hearing unfolded with the chief justice deliberating over the crucial decision of whether the proceedings should be held in camera or in an open court.

A date for the rehearing of the case is anticipated, with Barrister Safdar urging for a swift resolution within two days.

The chief justice, acknowledging the urgency of the matter, delegated the scheduling of the case to the relevant office. Subsequently, the decision on the request for an in-camera hearing was reserved, leaving the nation awaiting the outcome with bated breath.

This development follows the FIA’s recent declaration, made on September 30, that PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi are culpable in the cipher case. This revelation surfaced in an investigative report submitted by the FIA to the special Official Secrets Act court in Islamabad.

In the comprehensive report, the FIA not only urged that Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood be tried and sentenced but also submitted a list of 28 witnesses to the court, accompanied by the investigation report. Among these witnesses, the statements of 27 individuals, including Additional Foreign Secretary Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, were enclosed. Additionally, the report featured the statement of Imran Khan’s former principal secretary, Azam Khan, given under sections 161 and 167 of the CrPC.

The nation remains on tenterhooks as the Islamabad High Court’s decision hangs in the balance, holding profound implications for Imran Khan’s legal fate.

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