ISLAMABAD - A special Court on Monday fixed December 12 to frame charges against Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case.
Special Court Judge Abual Hassan Muhammad Zulqarnain heard the case in Central Jail Adiala against chairman PTI and co-accused. During the course of proceeding, the two accused were produced before the court. The court ordered to provide the copies of challan with the accused and decided to frame charges against them on next hearing.
The FIA prosecutor prayed the court to also summon the prosecution witnesses on next hearing. The defence lawyer on the occasion said that the action was being taken under criminal act 1952 while this law was amended in 1958. He said that they should be clearly told that under what act the copies of case challan were being distributed, adding that without it the case would not proceed. He said that the law ministry should issue a clear notification in that regard.
The prosecutor said that the notification of law ministry was clear in that regard, adding that the court was moving on as per the law. Chairman PTI’s Lawyer Usman Gill adopted the stance that the legal requirement were not met in the notification issued regarding the hearing. The court remarked that the division bench of IHC had declared the appointment of judge for the trial as per the law.
The court would write the objections of defence if any in its order, it added. After hearing arguments from both sides, the court, subsequently, ordered to distribute the copies of challan to accused and fixed December 12, to frame charges against them. During hearing, former firstly lady Bushra Bibi, sisters of chairman PTI and others were also in courtroom.
Judge Zulqarnain resumed hearing the case at the Adiala Jail. Family members and lawyers of the incarcerated PTI leaders were in attendance along with special prosecutor Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi and Rizwan Abbasi. Six members of the media were allowed to attend the proceedings.
At the outset, the judge expressed displeasure at PTI lawyer Usman Gul for not arriving in court on time. “The next hearing should begin on time and witnesses be produced in court,” he directed, adding that both the sides should mutually decide a time. Judge Zulqarnain then instructed the parties to check if all the documents in the case record were present so that the same could be distributed. At one point during the hearing, Imran’s lawyer Gul argued that legal requirements had not been fulfilled in the notification issued for the jail trial. Meanwhile, PTI’s Babar Awan said the proceedings could not continue until a new notification was issued.
However, Judge Zulqarnain said the IHC division bench had declared that the notification pertaining to special court judge’s appointment was correct. He further stated that these arguments would be written in today’s order of the court.
Subsequently, copies of the case record were distributed in the court. In a media talk after the hearing, Awan said the PTI and public were fully prepared for elections.
“The PTI will contest from every seat and our candidates will contest from every seat. No other party is as prepared for elections as we are,” he asserted. “The Constitution says and people believe that the way forward for Pakistan is to close these fictitious cases and trials,” the lawyer said.
Awan went on to say that people should be given the chance elect leaders of their choice. “No other way will work,” he added. When asked about the details of today’s hearing, the lawyer said the case were merely based on “two points”.
“There is no case, this is just an attempt to stop Imran and PTI from participating in the upcoming polls,” he claimed. Awan lamented that despite registering numerous cases against the ex-premier, Imran’s house staff were still being called for testimonies.
PTI lawyer Babar Awan also said on Monday that former prime minister Imran Khan wants an “ex-army general and a US envoy” to be summoned by the special court hearing the cipher case.