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Pakistani Finance Minister Asad Umar speaks to the media during a press conference after stepping down from his ministry, in Islamabad on April 18, 2019. - Pakistan's finance minister Asad Umar has stepped down, he announced on April 18, with no replacement yet named as Islamabad seeks a crucial bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI / AFP)

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Asad Umar Breaks Free: Bail Granted in Cipher Case

ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, a special court granted bail to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar in the cipher case.

Judge Abu Alhasnaat Zulqurnain announced the decision on Umar’s bail against surety bonds worth Rs50,000. Umar, who served as finance minister and planning minister in the PTI government, appeared in person before the Islamabad court to secure bail.

Cipher case

In the same case, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi are on remand until September 26. Umar had gone ‘missing’ from Islamabad on August 20, just hours after Qureshi’s arrest in the cipher case.

Last Tuesday, reports emerged that authorities have arrested Asad Umar in a cipher probe, but he refuted the news. He then appeared on the scene to secure bail in the case following the arrest of other party leaders.

Cipher case

The Official Secrets Act led to the registration of the First Information Report (FIR) on August 15, with the Home Secretary filing the complaint.

The FIR named former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as suspects, along with mentioning former Principal Secretary Azam Khan and former Planning Minister Asad Umar.

It was alleged in the FIR that Azam Khan and Asad Umar would also face action as authorities believed they were involved in the misuse of classified documents.

According to the FIR, the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister distorted the facts within the diplomatic cipher, with a conspiracy to misuse its contents for nefarious purposes.

The report also stated that the former Prime Minister and top diplomat jeopardized state interests by doing so.

The FIR claimed that the former Prime Minister instructed Azam Khan, who was then the Principal Secretary, to manipulate the contents of the cipher and deliberately retained a copy of the diplomatic cipher sent to the Prime Minister’s office.

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