FIA Directed To Submit Challan In Cipher Case By September 26

Special Court hearing the cipher case under Official Secrets Act extends the judicial remand of Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi

FIA Directed To Submit Challan In Cipher Case By September 26

A special court, which is trying former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the infamous Cipher case under the Official Secrets Act, directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday to submit a challan (charge sheet) in the case by September 26. 

The directions were issued by the Special Court's Judge Abual Hasnaat Muhammad Zulqarnain as he conducted proceedings against Imran in the case at Attock Jail. 

Strict security arrangements were made outside the Attock jail for the hearing. FIA officials, their legal team,, and nine lawyers representing Imran Khan, were allowed to attend the in-camera hearing inside the jail.

While Imran Khan was presented before the court in Attock Jail, former foreign minister and PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi was presented before the court at the Federal Judicial Complex in Islamabad. 

During Wednesday's hearing, the court asked Imran Khan whether he was satisfied with the conduct of jail officials. 

Imran told the court that he was satisfied and felt safe in the jail. Being an under-trial prisoner, he did not raise any objections over the facilities provided to him in jail.

He, however, requested the court to extend the visitation time afforded to him for the visits of his wife, Bushra Bibi. The extension in time was sought for their meetings in isolation, which take place within jail premises. 

The court directed the jail superintendent to further improve the available facilities in light of the facilities prescribed in the jail manual. 

The FIA requested the court to grant them additional time to submit the challan (charge sheet). 

The special court allowed FIA's plea for time to submit the challan and adjourned further hearings until September 26. 

At the last hearing of the case on August 30, the court had remanded the former prime minister Imran Khan into judicial custody for 14 days. On Wednesday, the special court extended the judicial remand of Imran and Qureshi until September 26.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain