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Pakistan’s special court postpones hearing in cipher case against Imran Khan yet again

Islamabad: A special court in Pakistan on Friday adjourned the hearing of the cipher case against former prime minister Imran Khan till November 14 without any further proceedings.

The Special Court headed by Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain held the trial hearing in the Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi where Khan has been kept since September 26 when he was shifted there from the District Jail, Attock.

“Cipher case hearing at Adiala Prison (was) adjourned till Tuesday, November 14, without any proceedings,” said Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in a statement.

Khan, 71, was arrested in August this year after a case was filed against him for disclosing a secret diplomatic cable (cipher) sent by the country’s embassy in Washington in March last year.

The trial is being conducted under the Official Secrets Act and the court on the last hearing day, November 7, recorded statements of witnesses. It was not clear how many witnesses out of 10 recorded their statements.

The former prime minister and his close ally ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, 67, were indicted on October 23 for the alleged leaking of a diplomatic cable and violating the secrecy laws of the country. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) registered the case against Khan and Qureshi, a co-accused in the case about the document sent by the country’s Washington embassy in March 2022.

On October 31, the special court adjourned to November 7 the hearing of the cipher case without recording the statements of any of the 10 witnesses.

Khan, the PTI chairman, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from August 2018 to April 2022, is accused of “misusing the contents of the cipher” to build a narrative that his government was ousted due to a foreign conspiracy hatched by the US, a charge denied by Washington. He was arrested on August 5.

Earlier, the FIA on September 30 submitted its charge sheet against the duo under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

According to the charge sheet, Khan had violated the Official Secrets Act by unlawfully keeping a diplomatic cipher in his possession. Qureshi was accused of facilitating Khan as foreign minister at that time.

(Published 10 November 2023, 08:57 IST)

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