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Thursday, June 13, 2024  
06 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Imran, Qureshi indicted in cipher case, plead not guilty

Imran Khan in emotional outburst after listening to the charges
Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi are being held in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi. PHOTO FILE
Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi are being held in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi. PHOTO FILE

PTI leaders Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been indicted in the cipher case under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a diplomatic cable the Pakistani ambassador to the United States had sent to the home country in March 2022.

A special court set up to hear the case held proceedings inside the Adiala Jail where the former prime minister and former foreign minister remain incarcerated.

The duo was produced before the judge, Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain. FIA Prosecurit Zulfikar Naqvi appeared before the court for the indictment.

Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi and sisters were present in the courtroom so were Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s family members.

The indictment proceedings were delayed until the afternoon for reasons not disclosed immediately.

Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi both pleaded not guilty.

Imran Khan in emotional outburst

Some reports claimed Imran Khan was seen in an emotional outburst after the charges were read out.

“I exposed national and international establishements. Add this to my indictment as well,” he was quoted as saying.

Imran Khan said the cipher was a conspiracy to overthrow his government and now he was being held accused though he was a victim.

The judge told Imran Khan that his outburst was inappropriate.

Qureshi demands fair trial

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who was the foreign minister when the diplomatic cable in cipher form was received from then-Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Asad Majeed, presented his arguments before the court.

Qureshi said that a foreign minister is considered the chief diplomat of the country but this particular cipher, sent by Majeed, was kept away from him and hence it was ‘unique’. There must be some reason that it was kept away from ‘my eyes,’ he said.

The former foreign minister demanded that the court summon Asad Majeed to ascertain the facts and reveal those facts to the nation.

Do not hold unilateral proceedings by hiding things, he said adding that two patriotic citizens were being framed.

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“I am innocent but [they] want to punish me,” he said.

The court heard Imran Khan and Qureshi and then proceeded with the indictment. The judge read out the charges spanning two pages.

Both the accused pleaded not guilty and the judge ordered the prosecution to bring witnesses. He adjourned the hearing until Thursday.

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