The special court determined on Monday that former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be indicted anew in the cipher case on December 12.
The case involves a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency claims Imran never returned. The PTI has long claimed that the paper constituted a threat by the US to depose Imran as prime minister.
Imran and Qureshi, also in custody, were originally charged in the case on October 23. Both had filed not-guilty pleas. The trial was well underway in Adiala Jail, with four witnesses having already recorded their testimonies and the fifth being cross-examined, when an Islamabad High Court division bench ruled that the government's notification for a jail trial was "erroneous" and ordered that the entire procedure be halted.
As a result of the decision, the special court reopened the case. Last Monday, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain decided that the trial would resume at the Adiala Jail but in open court.
However, when the hearing began on Saturday, prison officials barred journalists from entering the facility, leaving several local and foreign journalists outside. Following the conclusion of the hearing, it was revealed that three reporters from various TV channels were permitted to see the proceedings, but only after the hearing had concluded and the prosecutors had already left the courtroom.
During the hearing, Qureshi sought the special court to invite President Dr. Arif Alvi to testify if he had agreed to revisions to the Official Secrets Act of 1923.
In August, President Alvi denied authorizing changes to the Secrets Act, which governs the cipher trial, and the Pakistan Army Act, while the law ministry chastised him and requested that he "take responsibility for his actions."
Judge Zulqarnain reopened the case at the Adiala Jail today. Family members and attorneys of the imprisoned PTI leaders, as well as special prosecutors Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi and Rizwan Abbasi, were there.
Six media representatives were permitted to attend the proceedings.
Imran and Qureshi were given copies of the case record during the hearing after their attorneys sought them.
The court then adjourned the hearing until December 12 and stated that charges would be framed against the PTI leaders that day. Media representatives who were permitted to attend the hearings verified the developments.