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IHC Questions Singular Registration of Cypher Case Against Khan

Cypher Case

A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court raised concerns on Thursday regarding the exclusive registration of the cypher case against former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The bench, consisting of IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, was hearing petitions filed by Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi challenging their punishment in the cypher case.

In January of this year, a special court established under the Official Secrets Act sentenced both suspects to 10 years in jail for allegedly leaking official secrets.

The case revolves around a diplomatic cable that reportedly went missing while in Khan’s possession. Khan had publicly referenced the cable as evidence of a conspiracy by the US behind his ousting from power in 2022, although he denied taking it from the foreign affairs ministry.

During the hearing, the IHC bench questioned the prosecutor about why the case was only filed against Khan when others who had received copies of the diplomatic cable did not return them.

The prosecutor stated that while others had returned their copies, they were aware that Khan had lost his copy and did not return it to the foreign office deliberately.

In response, the bench highlighted the inconsistency of accusing Khan of deliberately withholding the copy while others who also possessed it were not prosecuted.

The prosecutor argued that Khan intentionally kept the cypher with himself when it was presented to him and negligently failed to return it.

The court further inquired about the procedures for handling the diplomatic cable, with the prosecutor explaining that it was received in encrypted form and stored in a secure container.

However, the bench sought clarification on who received the cypher and emphasized that the receiver should understand the consequences of retaining such a document.

The hearing was adjourned until April 30, with the prosecutor expected to conclude his arguments in the coming proceedings.

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