Pakistan court grants bail to ex-PM Imran Khan in cipher case

More than 150 cases have been registered against Khan since his ouster from power

By PTI

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Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2023, 12:52 PM

Last updated: Fri 22 Dec 2023, 1:25 PM

In a relief to jailed former prime minister Imran Khan, Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday approved his and close aide Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s bail in the cipher case related to the alleged leakage of state secrets.

The apex court also directed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders to submit surety bonds worth Rs 1 million each, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The order was issued by a three-member bench headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and comprising Justices Athar Minallah and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on a set of PTI petitions.

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The case is based on the allegation that a diplomatic document sent by the Pakistan embassy in March last year was mishandled by Khan, 71, and Qureshi, 67, and they violated the secret laws of the country.

However, Khan will remain in jail as he is convicted in the Toshakhana corruption case.

The Federal Investigation Agency’s charge sheet alleges the document was never returned by Khan. The PTI has long held that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Khan as prime minister.

The Special Court (Official Secrets Act) had begun the cipher trial afresh last week at the Adiala district jail after Khan and Qureshi were indicted for a second time in the case on December 13.

Khan and Qureshi, who is also behind bars, were first indicted in the case on October 23. Both had pleaded not guilty. The trial was being held at the Adiala Jail and four witnesses had alre­a­dy recorded their statements when the Islamabad High Court termed the government’s notification for a jail trial “erroneous” and scrap­ped the entire proceedings.

The IHC had endorsed Khan’s indictment, disposing of his plea against the same, but had also instructed the special court judge to ensure a “fair trial”.

Khan was ousted through a vote of no-confidence in April 2022. More than 150 cases have been registered against him since his ouster from power.

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