Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday, seeking post-arrest bail in the cipher case. This decision comes after the special court dedicated to cases filed under the Official Secrets Act rejected Imran Khan’s earlier plea for the same relief.
Former Prime Minister petition was filed through lawyer Salman Safdar, and the State and Interior Ministry Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokar have been made respondents in the case. In the petition, Imran Khan requests the court to grant him post-arrest bail until the final disposal of the cipher case “to meet the ends of justice.”
The plea highlights that almost 200 criminal cases have been registered against Imran Khan, including charges of corruption, murder, sedition, mutiny, foreign funding, NAB (National Accountability Bureau) reference, and Toshakhana reference. It asserts that Imran Khan could not avail himself of the remedy under section 498 (power to direct admission to bail or reduction of bail) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and alleges that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) acted under the influence of the then interior ministry.
The petition also mentions that the matter of the case not being registered by the foreign ministry went unnoticed by Special Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain. It cites past verdicts to argue that “straightaway arrests have been condemned in landmark authoritative judgments.”
The plea explains that the Secrets Act was originally enacted to hold members of the armed forces (air, navy, army) accountable for violations and breaches of the law. It alleges that Pakistan’s former Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have made contradictory statements regarding the custody of the “original cipher document.”
The petition claims that this attempt to arrest Imran Khan is another effort by state functionaries to secure his immediate arrest after the suspension of his sentence in the Toshakhana reference. It alleges that the respondents’ actions demonstrate “clear mala fide, hostility, and vindictive motives to harm the petitioner in his office, career, person, reputation, and dignity.”
The petition describes Imran Khan as “one of the few honest and dignified statesmen of Pakistan,” highlighting his cricket career and philanthropic contributions. It states that Imran Khan is prepared to provide reasonable surety to the court’s satisfaction and undertake “not to abscond or tamper with the prosecution witnesses.”
The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that reportedly went missing from Imran Khan’s possession. The PTI claimed that the document contained a threat from the US to remove Imran Khan from the post of Pakistan’s PM.
Imran Khan and Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been attending hearings in the case. PTI leader Asad Umar was granted post-arrest bail, while Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi were denied bail. Their judicial remand has been extended until September 26.
According to the FIR, Imran Khan and Qureshi have been accused of wrongful communication/use of official secret information and illegal retention of a cipher telegram with malicious intent under sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, read with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The roles of Muhammad Azam Khan, Asad Umar, and other associates will be determined during the probe