The Islamabad High Court (IHC) decided on Wednesday that the bail plea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan about the cipher case will be conducted in an open court. The decision responded to the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) earlier request for an in-camera hearing, fearing potential diplomatic repercussions.
Details of the Ruling
The IHC declared that while most of the bail plea hearing is scheduled for the public on October 9, discussions involving sensitive documents will remain in-camera.
The FIA had voiced concerns about possible harm to Pakistan’s diplomatic relations should certain details emerge publicly during the open court proceedings. The FIA’s Special Prosecutor, Shah Khawar, highlighted that the Official Secrets Act mandates such trials to be confidential. He emphasized that unveiling certain details linked to other nations might strain diplomatic ties.
In contrast, Salman Safdar, representing the PTI chief, argued against the in-camera hearing proposal.
Background of the Cipher Case
Last month, Imran Khan approached the IHC for post-arrest bail concerning the cipher case. The special court, under the Official Secrets Act, had previously denied the bail applications of Khan and PTI’s Vice Chairman, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Both leaders are expected to remain under judicial remand until October 10.
The FIA charged both politicians under the Official Secrets Act, accusing them of misusing a classified document for political gains in August. Following this, they were arrested, and a special court was established to review the charges.