Pakistan Former PM Imran Khan’s Remand Extended Till September 13 In Cipher Case

A special court extended the judicial remand of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan by two weeks in connection with the Cipher case related to alleged disclosure of state secrets. Khan’s custody was extended till September 13 to investigate him in the case of a missing cipher after a special court held the proceedings in the jail premises in Attock city on Wednesday. According to a PTI report, Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain issued an order in the case of a missing cipher, a classified state document that Khan had waved during a political rally last year. The former prime minister is charged with making public the contents of a confidential cable sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States and using it for political gain.

Khan’s new detention comes a day after the Islamabad High Court suspended his three-year jail sentence on corruption charges.

According to PTI, in March last year, ahead of the vote of no-confidence that resulted in his ouster, Khan pulled out a piece of paper – allegedly the cipher – from his pocket and waved it at a public rally in Islamabad, claiming it was the evidence of an “international conspiracy” being hatched to topple his government.

However, during the interrogation with the joint investigation team (JIT) in the jail on August 26, Khan denied that the paper he waved at a public gathering last year was the cipher. He also admitted to losing the cipher, saying he couldn’t recall where he kept it.

The purported cipher (secret diplomatic cable) contained an account of a meeting between US State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, and Pakistani envoy Asad Majeed Khan last year.

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On Tuesday, authorities decided to hold the hearing inside the Attock jail where 70-year-old Khan has been kept since August 5 after his conviction in the Toshakhana corruption case. His sentence was suspended by a two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court however, wasn’t allowed to walk free as a judge hearing the cipher case decided that Khan should be kept in prison and produced for the hearing on Wednesday.

Khan’s five-member legal team — attended the court hearing in the prison, as per PTI. Initially the team was denied access, but was later allowed to enter and meet Khan inside the jail. Khan’s close aide and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is already in custody in the same case.

The case launched earlier this month alleged that Khan and others were involved in the violation of the secret laws of the country. Qureshi will also be produced at the judicial complex in relation to the cipher case on Wednesday after his two-day remand is completed, the sources said.

Qureshi’s lawyer and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan will be representing him at the court.

The Toshakhana case was filed by ruling party lawmakers in 2022 in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), alleging that Khan concealed the proceeds from the sale of state gifts. The ECP first disqualified Khan and then filed a case of criminal proceedings in a sessions court which convicted him and subsequently, Khan was sent to jail.

The case alleges that Khan had “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana – a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept – during his time as the prime minister from 2018 to 2022 and proceeds from their reported sales. As per Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.

According to reports, Khan received 58 gifts worth more than Rs 140 million from world leaders during his three-and-a-half-year stint and retained all of them either by paying a negligible amount or even without any payment.

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ABP News Bureau

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