A special court trying the cypher case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi adjourned further proceedings till November 21 on Friday in the wake of stay order granted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
However, an accountability court, which is also trying Imran Khan in the £190 million Al-Qadir University reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) denied the request for physical remand of the PTI chief and ordered the graft buster to interrogate him in the Adiala Jail till the next hearing.
Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain presided over the special court, established under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), while Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir heard the £190 million scandal case. Both Imran and Qureshi were present in the court.
Read More: Imran denied bail in cipher case
Qureshi’s wife and two daughters, Imran’s three sisters, Aleema Khan, Uzma Khanum and Noreen Khanum were also present in the courtroom along with Bushra Bibi.
The PTI chief met with his sisters and wife for two hours and also conversed with his lawyer, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa and Umair Niazi.
At the outset of the cypher case hearing, Judge Zulqarnain spoke to Imran and Qureshi and asked about any complaints, but they did not raise any specific issue. Imran, however, told the judge that his son’s birthday was on Friday and he wanted to have telephone conversation with him.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutors Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi and Shah Khawar appeared in the court, but Imran’s lead counsel Salman Safdar was absent.
Read More: FIA lists 28 witnesses in cipher case
Similarly, the FIA witnesses also did not appear in the court.
When Judge Zulqarnain started the proceedings, the stay order issued by a division bench of the IHC was presented in the court.
On that order, the judge adjourned further hearing of the case until Tuesday, November 21.
£190 million case
During the proceedings by the accountability court, NAB prosecutors Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi sought five-day physical remand of the PTI chairman.
Imran’s lawyer Latif Khan Khosa opposed the request. The court ordered NAB to continue investigating Imran inside the jail.
When the court inquired about the previous three-day physical remand, the investigating officer said that the investigation was still on going. The court declared that NAB could come to Adiala Jail for four days to investigate the accused and complete the investigation and submit a report by the next date.
The NAB investigation officer told the court that the NAB Chairman had not yet issued any warrants for the arrest of Bushra Bibi in this reference, nor her immediate arrest was required.
On that the court also postponed the hearing of Bibi’s interim bail application till November 21.
Speaking after the hearing, Khosa said that in the Al-Qadir University case, the defence side took the stand that it was “a unanimous decision of the cabinet” and that there is not “even an iota of corruption” in it.
He added that Imran had told the court that the people trust him as he had opened a university and the Shaukat Khanum Hospital, which provided treatment to the poor. The PTI chairman also said that efforts were being made to damage the trust reposed in him by the people.
Speaking outside the jail, Aleema Khan said PTI chief told her that he was in good health.
She added that those provisions of the law were being applied to them, about which the IHC judge had said that death penalty could be “imposed under these provisions”.
“What crime did the former prime minister commit that such provisions are being applied to him,” she asked. The former prime minister thought that it was the best to tell the public about the message sent by Donald Lou [ a US State Department official], she added.
“If justice is not found here, we will go to America and file a case against Lou. If someone is trying to repeat the hanging of [late prime minister Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto, then I think that time has changed now,” she said.
Later, talking to the media persons outside the IHC, Khosa said that “We expect justice from the courts and God willing, the Constitution would be followed and basic rights would be given to the people. When asked about Aleema Khan’s statement, he said that she could explain it by herself.
He stressed that external interference occurred when chaos was created in the country. He referred to the countries in the Islamic world, saying that when chaos was created in Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, the foreign intervention destroyed them. We have not learned anything from history.