In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has granted bail to former PTI chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case.
The three-member bench, led by Acting Chief Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, accepted their petition against the Islamabad High Court’s verdict, offering insights into the hearing process and arguments presented by their legal representatives.
Key Points from the Hearing:
Bail Approval: The Supreme Court approved bail for Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi in exchange for bail bonds of Rs1 million each.
Legal Arguments: Imran Khan’s lawyer, Salman Safdar, argued that the FIR in the cipher case was filed with a delay of 17 months. He highlighted that the attempt to link the former prime minister to foreign funding failed, and his arrest in the cipher case followed the suspension of his sentence in the Toshakhana case.
Cipher Case Details: The lawyer emphasized that the cipher, a first in the country’s history, was sent by Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, as a highly sensitive document. The discussion delved into the nature of the cipher, its transmission, and implications under the Official Secrets Act.
Sensitive Information Handling: The court questioned the handling of sensitive information, emphasizing that the Foreign Office is tasked with shaping foreign policy using ciphers. The lawyers argued that the leaked cipher was the responsibility of the Foreign Office.
Azam Khan’s Statement: Imran Khan’s lawyer read out statements and speeches made during PTI public gatherings, emphasizing that the original cipher was with the Foreign Ministry, and if leaked, it was their responsibility.
Investigation Oversight: The court inquired about the investigation officer’s handling of Azam Khan’s disappearance, raising questions about pressure, disappearance, and subsequent statements.
Election Commission Complaint: PTI lawyer Niazullah Niazi informed the court about alleged interference with their candidates submitting nomination papers, seeking prompt action from the election commission.
Bail Conditions: The court explored the potential societal impact of releasing Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi on bail, questioning the need for continued detention. Also read King Abdulaziz University Opens Doors to Pakistani Graduates: Master’s & PhD Scholarships Available!
Impact on Foreign Relations: The court discussed the potential impact on Pakistan’s relations with other countries, considering the sensitive nature of the cipher issue.
Protection of Fundamental Rights: Emphasizing its role as the protector of fundamental rights, the court highlighted the innocence of the former prime minister and the need to safeguard the masses’ rights.
As the hearing unfolded, the legal proceedings touched on the intricacies of the cipher case, its historical significance, and the broader implications for national security and diplomatic relations. The Supreme Court’s decision carries weight not only for the individuals involved but also for the legal precedent it sets in handling cases of this nature.