PTI Chairman, Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s indictment deferred

PTI chairman

RAWALPINDI: The special court on Tuesday deferred the indictment of former prime minister and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the Cipher case till next week.

The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document that reportedly went missing from Imran’s possession. The PTI alleges that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran from office.

The PTI chief was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in the Toshakhana graft case on August 5, 2023. He was subsequently shifted to Attock jail, but the IHC later suspended his sentence. However, Imran remained in jail because he was on judicial remand in the cipher case.

IHC clubs together PTI chief’s pleas in cipher case

Imran has filed several petitions in the IHC, including two seeking to stay his jail trial and bail in the cipher case, another seeking to suspend the Toshakhana verdict, and one against his indictment in the cipher case.

Today, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain began the in-camera hearing of the cipher case at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

State prosecutor Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi was present while the FIA’s team, along with the investigation officer, also appeared before the court. Barrister Salman Safdar and Khalid Yousuf Chaudhry were present as Imran’s counsels.

Qureshi’s wife and daughter, Mehreen and Merh Bano, respectively, also reached the court.

Speaking to reporters before the hearing began, lawyer Shah Khawar noted that the court had fixed today for indictment.

However, he recalled that even at the previous hearing, Imran had refused to accept the indictment challans, adjourning the matter to today. He added, “Let’s see what the situation is right now.”

On Tuesday, the Judge distributed the copies of the challan to the defendants and postponed the indictment till next week.

According to the FIR, a case under sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 r/w 34 PPC has been registered against the former premier and former foreign minister.

They have been accused of wrongful communication/ use of official secret information and illegal retention of cipher telegram (official secret document) with mala fide intention, whereas role of the former PM’s aide Muhammad Azam Khan, former federal minister Asad Umar and other associates involved will be ascertained during the course of investigations.

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