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Special Court Directs Imran Khan And Shah Mahmood Qureshi To Appear On November 28 For Fresh Hearing In Cipher Case

The Islamabad High Court's two-member bench issued its judgment in response to an intra-court appeal by Khan against the earlier verdict that denied his appeal against the trial in Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail.

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Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan
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In a recent development, a Special Court in Pakistan has ordered the appearance of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Federal Judicial Complex on November 28 for the hearing of the cipher case. The directive comes after the Islamabad High Court declared the in-prison trial null and void, citing procedural grounds and questioning the validity of the proceedings conducted so far, as reported by PTI.

The Islamabad High Court's two-member bench issued its judgment in response to an intra-court appeal by Khan against the earlier verdict that denied his appeal against the trial in Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail. The court summoned Khan and Qureshi on November 28, with the trial set to resume from a point preceding August 29, when the former premier was ordered into physical remand and subsequently arrested while still in jail due to a Toshakhana corruption case.

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Imran Khan, aged 71, has been held in Adiala Jail since September 26, following his transfer from District Jail, Attock. His close associate, former Foreign Minister Qureshi, aged 67, faces charges in the cipher case and is also detained in the same facility. Both have maintained their innocence throughout the proceedings.

As the Special Court prepares for a fresh trial, the prosecution must file a new application if a trial in jail is deemed necessary. The case, registered under sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, originated from an FIR filed by the Federal Investigation Agency on August 15.

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Judge Zulqarnain, presiding over the case, now has four weeks to conclude the trial. Sources suggest that the trial is expected to meet the 30-day deadline, with one week allocated for framing charges and the remaining three for recording testimonies from witnesses and the accused.

The charges against Khan and Qureshi date back to March 2022 when they were accused of violating the country's secrecy laws while handling a diplomatic communication from Pakistan's embassy in Washington. The missing diplomatic cable, allegedly containing a threat from the United States to topple the PTI's government, led to their indictment on October 23. Their formal trial commenced two weeks ago with the recording of witness statements. Both were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency in August. Imran Khan faced a vote of no-confidence and was ousted from power in April 2022, with over 150 cases registered against him since then.

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