Pakistan: Govt moves SC against acquittal of Imran, Qureshi in Cypher Case


ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday moved the Supreme Court, challenging the acquittal of PTI founder Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cypher case by the Islamabad High Court.

The government, in its petition to the apex court through the interior secretary, challenged the IHC verdict that prayed for the leave to appeal to be granted and for the plea to be turned into an appeal in the “best interest of justice”.

The petition argued that the IHC order was “perverse, arbitrary and contrary to the material available on the record” and thus liable to be set aside.

It argued that the Official Secrets Act (OSA), 1923 did not provide the provision of filing an appeal against the judgment of the special court judge and that the IHC did not “appreciate” that it lacked the jurisdiction or power to create rights which were not provided by the Constitution or a validly enacted law.

The govt petition said that the act did not say that the provisions of the Pakistan Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1958, would be applicable for filing an appeal.

“It is an established principle of law that where the legislature has not provided something in the language of the law, the court cannot travel beyond its jurisdiction and read something to the law as the same would be ultra vires the powers available to the court under the constitution and would constitute an order without jurisdiction,” it argued.

It further said that the special law would have an overriding effect on the general law and thus the criminal procedure code was not applicable in the case of those tried for offences under the OSA.

“The conduct of the respondents was non-cooperative throughout the trial and they made very possible efforts to delay the proceedings. The record of the trial court is evidence of the fact that 65 miscellaneous applications were moved by the respondents were heard and decided by the trial court.

In 2023, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had registered the Cypher Case, centred on a diplomatic cable received from the US, against the former premier Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

In the case, the FIA alleged that a copy of the diplomatic was never returned by then-PM Imran, who long held that the document contained a threat from the US to topple his government.

A special court, established under the Official Secrets Act, had sentenced both Imran and Qureshi to 10-year in jail in the case in January after Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain appointed a state counsel for them.

Last week, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb had acquitted the duo after accepting the appeals of the former premier and the former foreign minister against their convictions in the case.__Pakistan Today