close
Thursday April 18, 2024

Prosecution sees delaying tactics in cipher case

Assistant lawyers Qamar Anayat Raja and Khalid Yusuf Chaudhary represented the defence

By Khalid Iqbal
January 27, 2024
PTI Chairman Imran Khan (Right) and Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi (Left). — X/@PTIOfficial
PTI Chairman Imran Khan (Right) and Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi (Left). — X/@PTIOfficial

ISLAMABAD: The Special Court, set up under the Official Secrets Act, has reserved judgment on the request to postpone the hearing of the cipher case.

In the case against the PTI founder and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi being heard in the court of Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, the prosecution has sought to terminate the right to cross-examination for the witnesses. The decision on the request to postpone the hearing has been reserved.

During the proceedings at Adiala Jail Friday, Special Prosecutors Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi and Raja Rizwan Abbasi were present in court, while the accused lawyers failed to appear.

Assistant lawyers Qamar Anayat Raja and Khalid Yusuf Chaudhary represented the defence.

When the court inquired about the absence of the senior lawyers for the accused, Qamar Inayat Raja, filing an application to postpone the hearing, explained that Senior Counsel Sikander Zulqarnain was undergoing a dental surgery and could not attend.

Prosecutor Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi expressed concern about the repeated adjournment requests, emphasising the inconvenience to witnesses who have come from Dubai for cross-examination.

Despite the explanation regarding the ongoing dental surgery, the court expressed frustration.

Prosecutor Zulfikar Abbas Naqvi questioned the regularity of lawyers’ appearances, suggesting a pattern of deliberate delays. Lawyer Qamar Inayat Raja defended the situation, saying that the adjournment request was not intentional but due to Sikandar Zulqarnain’s dental surgery.

Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain expressed anger, noting the previous adjournments and the importance of the case.

The court granted time for consultation, during which the lawyers requested adjournment for cross-examination, and the court approved it.

However, when the hearing resumed, Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi accused the defence of intentionally delaying the case, citing legal provisions.

Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain instructed the assistant lawyers to contact the absent lawyers by 12:30 p.m. and warned that proceedings would continue according to the law if they failed to do so.

The court reserved its decision after the expiration of the two-time deadline for the lawyers to appear, adjourning the hearing until Saturday.

The prosecution reiterated concerns about the avoidance of cross-examination, while the defence highlighted the ongoing trial and the non-receipt of cross-examination copies. The final decision is now awaited.