FIA moves SC against Imran, Qureshi release in cipher case

ISLAMABAD   -  The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Thursday filed an appeal against the Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict to order the release of PTI founder Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case. A division bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb on June 3, 2024 had acquitted Imran and Qureshi by annulling their conviction in the cipher case.

The FIA stated in its appeal before the Supreme Court that the Official Secrets Act, 1923 does not provide the provision of filing an appeal against the judgment of the Special Judge. The right of appeal is a statutory right and it cannot be availed unless it is expressly conferred by law, therefore the impugned judgment is not sustainable in the eyes of law.

The Agency submitted that 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 same would be ultra vires the powers available to the court under the constitution and would constitute an order without jurisdiction.

The FIA continued that the witnesses remained present in the court but their cross examination was not carried out by the defence counsels, therefore the trial court appointed defence counsels on the expense of the state, who had completed the trial. The respondents tried to defeat the cause of justice by indefinite procrastination, the High Court did not consider this aspect while acquitting the respondents.

The agency said that it is a settled principle of law that if at all courts come to the conclusion that the trial was not carried out in view of Article 10-A of the Constitution, then the only way out is to remand the matter to the trial court for giving proper opportunity.

It mentioned that the prosecution has produced the overwhelming evidence in support of its case. Moreover, the admission made by the accused during the cross examination as well as in examination under Section 342 of CrPC, which are sufficient to establish the case beyond any shadow of doubt. It said that the impugned judgment/short order of IHC does not reflect any ground of acquittal of the respondents, even it is not observed that the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond any shadow of doubt.