Imran In, Qureshi Out?: Have Bails Been Approved Based On Some Deal?

On the one hand, lawyers were told not to argue on the merits of the case, but on the other, subordinate courts were asked to give their verdict without being influenced by the SC order

Suppose there are back-channel talks underway with politicians. In that case, there is suspicion that the Supreme Court's verdict on Friday to approve the bails of former prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case could result from a deal.

Friday's decision of the Supreme Court on the bail of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and PTI Senior Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case, PTI's petition for a level playing field were the main topics of discussion in the latest episode of Naya Daur Tv's show 'Khabar Say Aagay' on Friday. The show featured Mubasher Bukhari, Asad Jamal, and Aamer Ilyas Rana.

Bukhari said that Imran Khan still trusts Shah Mehmood Qureshi but not someone like Latif Khosa with the party affairs, no matter the latter's claims. 

Aamer Ilyas Rana claimed that secret meetings were orchestrated between Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi in Adiala jail, with Fawad Chaudhry also allowed to sit in on the meetings.

Bukhari added that following Friday's orders, it is more likely that Shah Mehmood Qureshi would be able to come out of detention and campaign for PTI with impassioned speeches in rallies.

Aamer Ilyas Rana expressed surprise at how, on the one hand, the Supreme Court judges were telling the lawyers not to argue the case on merits and come to the aspect of securing bail for their clients but, on the other hand, in their order, asked the subordinate courts not to be influenced by the top court's remarks when giving their verdicts. "How can this be? Does the subordinate judiciary live on Mars? Such contradictory judgements come from the courts that it creates a new tradition."

Jamal explained that some of the key aspects of the three-page order penned by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah were that so far in the case, no such incriminating evidence has been presented on which the suspects can be sentenced to death or to 14 years in prison. Based on the evidence available, at most, the punishment that can be awarded to the suspects is two years, and even the sentence is based on bailable charges. 

He said that evidence proving crime and thus suggestive of the duration of punishment plays a key role in the grant of bail. 

On Bilawal Bhutto's decision to contest from Lahore and the prospects of reviving the PPP in Punjab, Jamal said that he was late to do this and that he should have started work on this five years ago.