IHC requests a response from the FIA regarding the post-arrest bail application of the PTI chief in the cipher case.

Imran Khan

In Islamabad, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a notice to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday, requesting a response to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s bail application in the cipher case.

This development occurred during the hearing of Khan’s bail petition, which challenges the special court’s decision under the Official Secrets Act to reject post-arrest bail requests from PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his party’s Vice Chairman, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in the cipher case.

The PTI chairman submitted the plea on Saturday, and the IHC scheduled it for today’s hearing.

The IHC Chief Justice, Aamer Farooq, issued notices in response to the plea filed by lawyer Salman Safdar on behalf of the PTI chief.

The PTI chief’s legal team consistently requested an expedited hearing of the case, prompting the IHC chief justice to emphasize the importance of following the proper procedure, assuring that the case will be decided accordingly.

The FIA has been instructed to submit its response to the PTI chief’s petition.

As of now, both Khan and Qureshi are in judicial remand in the cipher case until September 26.

The ciphergate controversy first surfaced on March 27, 2022, when Khan, shortly before his removal in April 2022, revealed a letter claiming it was a cipher from a foreign nation, suggesting the need to remove his government from power.

However, Khan did not disclose the letter’s contents or the name of the nation that sent it at the time. Later, he identified the United States and accused Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu of seeking his removal.

The cipher related to former Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed’s meeting with Lu.

Former Prime Minister Khan, while claiming to read from the cipher, stated that “all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power.”

On March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) addressed the matter and decided to issue a “strong demarche” to the concerned country for its alleged interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

After Khan’s removal, his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, convened another NSC meeting, concluding that no evidence of a foreign conspiracy in the cipher was found.

The cipher case against the former premier escalated when his principal secretary, Azam Khan, confessed before a magistrate and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) that the ex-PM had used the US cipher for his “political gains” and to thwart a vote of no-confidence against him.

Azam Khan stated that when he provided the ex-premier with the cipher, Khan was “euphoric” and termed the language a “US blunder.” The former prime minister allegedly suggested that the cable could be used to “create a narrative against the establishment and opposition.”

Azam further revealed that the US cipher was utilized in political gatherings by the PTI chairman, despite his advice to avoid such actions. Khan reportedly told him that the cipher could divert public attention toward “foreign involvement” in the opposition’s no-confidence motion.

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