Pakistan Supreme Court grants Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi Bail in Cypher Case

World Friday 22/December/2023 13:42 PM
Pakistan Supreme Court grants Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi Bail in Cypher Case

Islamabad : The Pakistan Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cypher case, Dawn reported.

The court directed the PTI leaders to submit surety bonds of Pakistan Rupee (PKR) 1 million each.

The three-member bench, headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and including Justices Athar Minallah and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, issued the order based on a set of PTI petitions.

The cypher case involves a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency alleges was never returned by Imran, with the PTI asserting the document contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran as prime minister.

The Special Court (Official Secrets Act) restarted the cypher trial at Adiala district jail last week after Imran and Qureshi were indicted for the second time on December 13, as reported by Dawn.

The trial had faced setbacks when the Islamabad High Court scrapped proceedings due to an "erroneous" government notification for a jail trial. The IHC endorsed Imran's indictment, disposing of his plea, but instructed the special court judge to ensure a "fair trial."

However, Imran Khan will not be released from jail as he has multiple arrest warrants issued against him in several other cases.

Earlier in August, former Prime Minister Imran Khan was sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of Rs 100,000 by Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Humayun Dilawar, after the judge found him guilty of graft in the Toshakhana case.

Khan has been convicted of misusing his position as prime minister to sell state gifts worth more than Rs 140 million (USD 490,000) that he received from foreign dignitaries during visits abroad, reported Geo News.

Last month, the PTI sought Imran's post-arrest bail in the Supreme Court, arguing that bail should not be used as a form of punishment. The SC had previously issued notices to the FIA and the federation, directing them to submit responses to the plea, Dawn reported.

The cypher case, initiated with the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) on August 15 under the Official Secrets Act, involves serious allegations against former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The FIR, lodged based on the complaint of the Home Secretary, also implicates former principal secretary Azam Khan and former planning minister Asad Umar.According to the FIR, action is anticipated against Azam Khan and Asad Umar, as authorities have concluded their involvement in the misuse of classified documents. The report alleges that a conspiracy was orchestrated by Khan and Qureshi to exploit the contents of the diplomatic cypher for malicious purposes, endangering state interests.

The report claimed that former prime minister asked Azam Khan - the then principal secretary - to "manipulate the contents of cypher". "The former premier deliberately kept the copy of diplomatic cypher, which was sent to the PM office", it added, ARY News reported.