Cipher case: Special court allows Imran Khan to speak with sons on phone call

Imran Khan

In Islamabad, the special court judge, Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, has granted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan permission to have a phone conversation with his sons, despite his incarceration in the cipher case. The court’s one-page written order was issued during an open court hearing of Khan’s plea, seeking this permission.

On September 11, the former prime minister filed a petition in a special court against the Attock jail superintendent, alleging a denial of permission to speak with his sons by phone. At the time of filing the plea, Khan was in judicial custody at the Attock jail until September 13 in the cipher case, following his arrest on August 5 due to a conviction in the Toshakhana case.

The special court, established under the Official Secrets Act 2023, had previously granted Khan permission to contact his sons. However, Khan filed a petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against the Attock jail superintendent for violating this order.

In response, the Attock jail authorities argued that jail rules prohibit accused individuals facing charges under the Official Secrets Act from making international phone calls, stating that the court’s order had not been violated.

Imprisoned at the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, Khan’s constitutional rights were deemed essential by the court, even if the jail manual doesn’t permit telephone conversations and international communication for accused individuals under the Official Secrets Act.

During the hearing, an exchange occurred between the judge and Khan’s counsel, Shiraz Ahmed Ranjha, where the lawyer requested a bicycle for Khan to exercise in jail. The judge humorously expressed concerns about the bicycle’s potential misuse by the jail superintendent.

Ultimately, the court decided to examine the jail manual for security reasons, and after reviewing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) related to telephone conversations, it was determined that the accused should be allowed to speak with his family. Khan’s lawyer argued that the Official Secrets Act does not prohibit telephone conversations with family, citing Prisoner’s Rules that allow meetings with family members for 12 hours in jail. He also pointed out that telephone conversations are permitted for other accused individuals.

As a result, the court authorized Imran Khan to have a phone conversation with his sons, citing a relevant decision from the Federal Shariat Court, despite the prison manual’s restrictions.

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