The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that was reported as missing from Imran Khan’s possession. The PTI alleges that this document contained a threat from the United States aimed at removing Khan from office.
On August 5, 2023, Imran Khan, the PTI chief, was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison in the Toshakhana graft case. Following this, he was transferred to Attock jail, but his sentence was later suspended by the IHC. However, Khan remained in custody due to his judicial remand in the cipher case.
On September 25, the IHC granted Imran’s request to be relocated from Attock district jail to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.
On September 30, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a charge sheet, or “challan,” in the Special Court established under the Official Secrets Act. This named the former prime minister and former foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as the primary accused in the cipher case.
Imran Khan has lodged several petitions with the IHC, including one seeking to halt his jail trial in the cipher case, another to suspend the Toshakhana verdict, and a third challenging his indictment in the cipher case, with the latter scheduled for October 17.
Today, the IHC has disposed of the plea against conducting the cipher case trial in Adiala Jail, directing Imran to instead approach the special court for this matter.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the reserved verdict today. The verdict emphasized that the jail trial was “in favor” of the former premier, taking into account security-related concerns. It clarified that there was no apparent ill will in regards to the jail trial.
The order noted that Imran had raised security-related reservations on multiple occasions. It stated that if the PTI chairman had concerns about the jail trial, he should address them with the trial court.
Regarding the plea, on October 4, Imran, through Advocate Sher Afzal Marwat, approached the IHC against conducting the cipher case trial in Adiala Jail. The application cited section 151 (saving of inherent powers of court) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and called for restraint against issuing orders for holding Imran’s trial in Adiala Jail.
The plea referenced a notification by the law ministry that allowed Imran’s trial in Adiala Jail due to security concerns cited by the Interior Division. It questioned the jurisdiction and authority of the law ministry in issuing a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) and whether the NOC could be considered binding for the special court judge to move the trial to Adiala Jail. The plea argued that the matter would be rendered ineffective if the notification was not challenged, or if future identical orders were not prevented by the respondents.