Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has no confidence in Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, his lawyer said on Friday following the rejection of former’s bail plea in the cypher case.
The IHC chief justice, who had previously reserved his decision on Imran Khan’s bail plea, announced the reserved decision on Friday. The court also dismissed a petition seeking the dismissal of the case. Currently, Imran Khan is imprisoned in Adiala Jail on judicial remand in the cypher case.
Speaking to the media after the hearing of the cypher case in Adiala Jail, PTI chief’s lawyer Salman Safdar stated that his client’s morale remained high. He expressed concern that lawyers for other co-accused, including Shah Mehmood Qureshi, were not permitted to meet the incarcerated PTI leader.
The lawyer argued that it was unjust to treat the cypher as a “secret” when it had been discussed in the National Security Committee. Salman Safdar went on to describe the cypher case as baseless, likening it to the “Toshakhana case” and contending that Imran Khan was facing a biased trial.
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He asserted, “It is known what the judges want,” without providing further details. He also mentioned that all cases related to the cypher case would be taken to the Supreme Court.
Salman Safdar disclosed that Imran Khan had stated in court that he had not committed any crime and that he was a patriotic citizen of the country. The lawyer accused those behind the cypher case of using it to oust Imran Khan from politics and expressed that the rejection of Imran’s bail was not surprising, as the PTI chief had already expressed his lack of confidence in IHC Chief Justice Amir Faroqq.
The lawyer emphasised that in the future, PTI would object to inclusion of the IHC chief justice in any bench formed to hear the petitions of their leaders, lamenting that both of their pleas had been dismissed by the IHC chief justice.
He argued that these tactics were employed to prolong Imran Khan’s detention, and he accused the Islamabad High Court of deliberately extending the hearing. He also highlighted that the Supreme Court had ruled that the accused must be aware of the evidence the prosecution intended to present, expressing regret that his client had been kept in the dark about the evidence in the cypher case.
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Advocate Aftab, another PTI lawyer, used a harsh tone and alleged that justice in the cypher case was being “sold”. He drew parallels with Imran Khan’s political adversary, Nawaz Sharif, and claimed that a “proclaimed offender” had been granted bail the previous day, with his appeals restored.
He said that Shah Mehmood Qureshi had directed his legal representatives not to file petitions with Justice Amir Farooq in relation to the ongoing cypher case.
Cypher case hearing
Earlier today, during the cypher case hearing in Adiala Jail, the defence lawyers requested that witness statements should not be recorded until the Islamabad High Court delivered its decision on Imran Khan’s bail plea.
The request, however, was met with opposition from the prosecution led by Shah Khawar. Despite the defence’s plea, the court allowed the prosecution to present five witnesses in the case, namely Nadir Khan, Imran Sajid, Muhammad Nauman, Shamoon Qaiser, and Farrukh Abbas.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team, accompanied by key witnesses, arrived at Adiala Jail to present these individuals before Judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Al-Zulqarnain. This event drew significant media attention, both domestic and foreign, with journalists stationed outside the jail premises.
Notably, Prosecutor Khawar Shah clarified that Azam Khan, a figure central to the case, was not an approver, and his statement would not be recorded on that particular day.
Amidst these proceedings, defence lawyers persisted in their request to postpone the recording of witness statements until the Islamabad High Court’s decision was rendered.
PTI chairman’s lawyer, Salman Safdar, cited an observation made by the IHC chief justice and argued that it was imperative to heed this directive.
Ultimately, no witness statements were recorded during the hearing held in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail today. The prosecutor confirmed that these statements would be documented on a subsequent date, subject to guidelines provided by the high court.
As a result, the court adjourned the next hearing in the cypher case until Tuesday, October 31, at which point the FIA team left the jail premises in the company of witnesses. This ongoing legal saga continues to capture public and media attention, with various legal and procedural complexities coming to the forefront.