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Pakistan court orders hearing of ex-premier's case in open court

October 4, 2023 at 2:59 pm

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) arrives to appear on court before the Lahore High Court in a corruption case, in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 15, 2023 [Khurram Amin/Anadolu Agency]

A Pakistani court, on Wednesday, ordered an open hearing of a case that accuses the jailed ex-Prime Minister, Imran Khan, of exposing state secrets, a court document said, Anadolu Agency reports.

The Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) turned down a plea by the country’s key investigation agency seeking an in-camera trial of the ex-premier’s bail application in the “cipher case”, which is related to a diplomatic document that reportedly went missing from his possession.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), earlier this week, pleaded that an open trial of the case could pose a “risk of deteriorating relations with other countries.”

Justice Farooq, in a short verdict, declared that the hearing of the case would be held in an open court, but would be in-camera when “sensitive information” is discussed.

READ: Pakistan court extends ex-PM Khan’s detention

Khan alleges that the document contained a threat from the US to oust him from office. Washington and Islamabad have rebuffed the allegation.

Following the suspension of his three convictions in a graft case by the Islamabad High Court last month, Khan has been languishing in jail on a judicial remand in the cipher case.

The post-arrest bail pleas of Khan, and his deputy, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a former foreign minister, were rejected by the trial court earlier this month, prompting the two to approach the Islamabad High Court for bail.

The FIA, in its charge sheet, has already declared Khan and Qureshi “principal accused” in the cipher case.

Khan, who was ousted through a no-trust vote in April last year, is facing a string of cases, which he dubs as “politically motivated”.

READ: Pakistan ex-premier shifted to prison near capital Islamabad