Imran’s conversations with Qureshi, Azam and Asad mention playing with cipher, IHC told

Awais Yousafzai
Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The special prosecutor of the Federal Investigation Agency has told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that conversations of PTI founder Imran Khan with Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Azam Khan and Asad Umar have come to light in which there is a mention of playing with the cipher.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq inquired the special prosecutor why the Ministry of Interior was the complainant instead of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the cipher case.

The special prosecutor said that he will assist the court in this regard. Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb remarked that a comparative review of the PTI’s own lawyers and those appointed by the advocate general is necessary.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb heard the appeals in the cipher case.

FIA Prosecutor Hamid Ali Shah said that the FIA in its technical report related to the audio leak said that this conversation took place.

The chief justice inquired the prosecutor whether he was saying that the FIA report was confirming that this was a conversation.

The prosecutor replied that the audio that came out mentioned playing with the cipher.

He said the inquiry was registered in the FIA after the approval of the federal cabinet, and former interior secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar filed the first complaint in October 2022, while in September 2023 the other interior secretary Aftab Durrani submitted the second complaint to fulfil the requirement under the Official Secrets Act.

He said the PTI founder was arrested on August 16, 2023, while Shah Mahmood Qureshi was arrested on August 19, and they were charge-sheeted on October 3. He said that the appellants were indicted on October 23, which was set aside by the IHC, and they were again indicted on December 13, 2023.

Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb inquired who the counsel for Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi were and who the lawyers appointed by the advocate general later were, as a comparative review of these lawyers was necessary.

The FIA prosecutor said the appellants were provided counsel by the AG office on January 24, who cross-examined the witnesses on January 27 and completed the process on January 30, after which statements of the appellants were recorded under Section 342 of CrPC, but they did not sign their statements.

The chief justice inquired the prosecutor how much time he would take to conclude the arguments. The prosecutor replied that nothing can be said yet but he will try to take less time.

The chief justice observed that the court had given time to the appellants’ counsel Salman Safdar and the same time would be given to the prosecutor, and adjourned the hearing till April 22.