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Saturday July 13, 2024

‘Cipher case should be sent for retrial', federal govt on IHC verdict

Courts should be "mindful" of national security while deciding on sensitive matters, says Barrister Aqeel Malik

By Web Desk
June 03, 2024
Governments spokesperson for legal affairs Barrister Aqeel Malik addresses the press conference after cipher cases verdict on June 3, 2024. — Screengrab/YouTube/Geo News
Government's spokesperson for legal affairs Barrister Aqeel Malik addresses the press conference after cipher case's verdict on June 3, 2024. — Screengrab/YouTube/Geo News

Reacting to the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) verdict acquitting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in cipher case, the federal government’s spokesperson on legal affairs Barrister Aqeel Malik on Monday insisted that the honourable court should have sent the diplomatic cable case for retrial.

Barrister Aqeel said this while addressing a press conference in Islamabad shortly after the IHC acquitted the top PTI leaders in the cipher case.

He said the courts should be "mindful" of national security while deciding on sensitive matters.

In a major relief to the embattled former ruling party, the IHC annulled Imran and Qureshi’s conviction in the infamous cipher case containing charges of misusing and misplacing the classified diplomatic document.

“Detailed verdict of the case is due to arrive,” Barrister Malik said, insisting that the cipher case was a “reality” which could not be denied.

He said that the former prime minister waved a classified document at a public gathering, whereas, then-principal secretary Azam Khan also confessed to a “missing copy of the cipher”.

“Nothing is more important than our national security. The prosecution will decide on challenging the IHC’s ruling after the issuance of a detailed verdict,” the lawyer-cum-politician said.

He urged that the courts never ignore the national security aspect in any case and the cipher case should be sent for retrial. Malik further clarified that both the accused were not sentenced "at the behest of any individual".

He vowed that the federal government and the armed forces would never compromise on the national security affairs.

The politico, however, clarified that the federal government accepted the verdicts of the courts and never criticised the judiciary unlike a certain political party which continued to “malign the honourable judges”.

IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the short verdict on the pleas challenging the conviction in the cipher case after reserving it earlier today.

The PTI founder and party's vice-chairman were sentenced to 10 years each in prison in the cipher case in January this year.

The case pertains to allegations that the former prime minister had made public contents of a secret cable sent by the country's ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad.

The latest relief for the PTI founder came days after IHC approved his bail petition in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) settlement reference on May 15.