The Pakistan Supreme Court has granted bail to former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the controversial cypher case, reported by Dawn. The court’s decision, issued by a three-member bench led by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood alongside Justices Athar Minallah and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, mandates the submission of surety bonds amounting to Pakistan Rupee (PKR) 1 million each by the PTI leaders.
The cypher case revolves around a diplomatic document alleged to have been retained by Imran Khan, with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claiming its non-return. The PTI has contended that the document contained a purported threat from the United States to remove Imran from his position as prime minister.
This development arrives after a series of legal proceedings, including the Special Court’s restart of the cypher trial at Adiala district jail following Imran and Qureshi’s indictment for the second time on December 13. Earlier setbacks occurred when the Islamabad High Court annulled proceedings due to an “erroneous” government notification for a jail trial. While the IHC endorsed Imran’s indictment, it urged the special court judge to ensure a “fair trial.”
However, despite the bail grant, Imran Khan remains in custody due to multiple arrest warrants issued against him in various other cases. This includes a previous conviction in the Toshakhana case where he was sentenced to three years in prison and fined ₹100,000 for misusing his position as prime minister to sell state gifts worth over ₹140 million (USD 490,000) received from foreign dignitaries.
Last month, the PTI sought Imran’s post-arrest bail in the Supreme Court, arguing against using bail as a form of punishment. The SC had earlier issued notices to the FIA and the federation, requesting their responses to the plea.
The cypher case, initiated through an FIR under the Official Secrets Act on August 15, involves serious allegations against Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former principal secretary Azam Khan, and former planning minister Asad Umar. The FIR, based on the complaint of the Home Secretary, accuses them of misusing classified documents and orchestrating a conspiracy to exploit diplomatic cypher contents for malicious purposes, jeopardizing state interests.
The report alleges that Imran Khan deliberately retained the diplomatic cypher sent to the PM office and instructed the then principal secretary Azam Khan to manipulate its contents. Asad Umar is also implicated in the report, hinting at anticipated action against both individuals.
The case remains under the spotlight as legal proceedings continue, shaping the political landscape amidst the significant implications tied to the alleged mishandling of classified information.
Sources By Agencies