On Monday, PTI lawyer Babar Awan stated that former Prime Minister Imran Khan has requested the special court overseeing the cipher case to summon an “ex-army general and a US envoy”.
Awan revealed that Imran made this request during the case proceedings at Adiala Jail, where he is currently detained. Awan, addressing the media, quoted Imran Khan as saying, “The US embassy representative should be called, and he also took the name of a former general.”
Although the PTI lawyer did not explicitly mention the former military officer, individuals from the media who attended the cipher case hearing reported that Imran Khan referred to retired General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the former army chief.
The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that, according to the Federal Investigation Agency’s charge sheet, Imran Khan allegedly failed to return. The PTI contends that the document contains a threat from the United States to remove Imran as prime minister.
Imran and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, both currently incarcerated, were initially indicted in the case on Oct 23, pleading not guilty. The trial, initially held at Adiala Jail, saw four witnesses record statements before an Islamabad High Court division bench declared the government’s notification for a jail trial “erroneous,” annulling the proceedings.
Following this judgment, the special court initiated a new trial. Last week, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain ruled that the trial would continue at Adiala Jail but in an open court.
However, on Saturday, jail authorities barred media personnel from entering the jail, leaving numerous local and international journalists outside when the hearing commenced. After the hearing concluded, it was revealed that three reporters from different TV channels were permitted to witness the proceedings, but only after the hearing had concluded, and the prosecutors had already left the courtroom.
During the hearing, Qureshi urged the special court to summon President Dr. Arif Alvi to testify about whether he had assented to changes in the Official Secrets Act, 1923. In August, President Alvi had denied approving changes to the Secrets Act, under which the cipher trial is being held, and the Pakistan Army Act. The law ministry had criticized his statement, urging him to “take responsibility for his own actions.”
Today, the special court ruled that Imran and Qureshi would face indictment again in the case on December 12.