Cypher hearing conducted in Attock Jail for Imran’s safety: judge

ISLAMABAD:

A special court, recently established to hear cases filed under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, has stated that the hearing against former prime minister Imran Khan in a case related to the illegal possession and disclosure of a classified diplomatic cypher was conducted in Attock Jail to avoid any untoward incident and to ensure the safety of PTI chief.

Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain, in his written order of hearings on August 16 and 30, said that hearing in the case took place on August 16 at the Judicial Complex during which the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) sought 14-day physical remand for Imran who was already imprisoned in Toshakhana case.

He said that the Official Secrets Act gives the court the authority to decide on physical, judicial, or bail-related custody of an accused individual.

“As per Section 13 (3) of Official Secret Act, 1923, it is crystal clear that it is discretion of this Court to send accused on physical remand, judicial remand or grant him bail. Moreover, in order to avoid any untoward incident and bringing accused Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi outside from jail premises, there is no touch stone what may happened during this time. Since, the valuable life of accused is at peril who is already under judicial custody in Toshakhana Case being convicted accused. Keeping in view the alarming situation and prevailing circumstances it is not appropriate to give physical custody of accused in the instant case by way of bringing him before this Court. In order to save his precious life being a citizen of Pakistan from any untoward incident. It is pertinent to mention here that it is not an ordinary trial. This Court is also a Special Court which deals with very sensitive/high profile cases registered under Official Secret Act. 1923. Undersigned was designated to conduct trial of these cases under above said Official Secret Act, 1923. Keeping in view since, the instant matter is Cypher Case Proceedings the sensitivity and sovereignty of the State is also involves in instant matter,” the court order stated.

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The court directed the Superintendent Attock Jail to confine Imran Khan on judicial remand for 14 days in instant matter. “Hence, in view of above said prevailing situation and to counter the life threats faced by accused Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi and also in view of threats facing by the whole society and sovereignty of the State, his attendance is dispensed with and he be considered as present before this Court on account of serious alarming situation as discussed above because he is already being convicted in Judicial Custody.”

Moreover, the order stated, in absence of the accused due to non-production his valuable right is not going to be prejudice under the fundamental rights given in the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973.

“The Superintendent Jail has been taken on board regarding the availability and live status of accused Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi. In the light of supra mentioned observations the request of FIA Officials stands declined.”

Also read: Court allows Imran to talk to his sons over phone

The court also asked Imran whether he has any inconvenience, problems or complaints in any manner in the jail regarding provisions of facilitates as prescribed under jail manual.

“So keeping in view the submissions of accused, Superintendent Attock Jail is directed to provide all kind of facilities as enshrined for prisoners under Jail Manual which are necessary for maintenance of valuable health of accused Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi,” the court order said.

Currently, the order said, the accused’s lawyer has presented two separate applications, adding that the first application seeks to label a notification from August 29 illegal whereas the second application aims to move the ongoing case to a regular court and allow public access.

It further said that a notice has been issued for the state and FIA authorities to these matters on September 2.


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