Cipher trial: Judge warns Imran, Qureshi over misbehaviour

Imran Khan, Qureshi

PTI Founder Imran Khan and his aide Shah Mahmood Qureshi reportedly clashed with Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain on Saturday during the Cipher trial.

The special court is presiding over the cipher case against the PTI leaders, who stand accused of leaking state secrets under the Official Secrets Act and other statutes.

Hearings for the case have been taking place within the confines of Adiala jail. However, Saturday’s session took a tumultuous turn when Judge Hasnat discovered the absence of defence lawyers upon commencing the hearing.

Expressing his displeasure, the judge issued a stern warning – the third of its kind in this case.

Meanwhile, Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s actions escalated the tension further as he reportedly seized a file from the state defence counsel and hurled it against the wall. Judge Hasnat promptly warned Qureshi for his behavior.

Adding to the commotion, Imran Khan himself allegedly used strong language directed at the judge, further intensifying the charged atmosphere within the courtroom.


A state counsel has been appointed for former prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the ongoing cipher case against them.

The special court of Official Secrets Act issued the written order for Friday’s hearing. Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain issued the order.

The decision came after the court noticed the absence of senior counsel representing the accused at the hearing’s start. Despite granting multiple opportunities, no senior lawyer appeared, and the court ultimately opted for a state-appointed defense due to “facts and circumstances” not specified in the order.

According to the order, a list of advocates was sought from the advocate general by email. The Islamabad AG’s office submitted a reply by letter and provided the names of qualified lawyers.

Advocate Malik Abdul Rahman will now represent Imran Khan, while Advocate Hazrat Younus will defend Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Both state counsels will begin cross-examining witnesses on behalf of the accused today, January 27.

The cipher case revolves around allegations that Khan and Qureshi misused a diplomatic cable, potentially violating the Official Secrets Act. Both have denied any wrongdoing, calling the case politically motivated.

Read also: Accountability court judge hearing Imran Khan’s case denied leave

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