Former Pak PM Imran Khan’s judicial remand extended till Sep 13 in cipher case

Islamabad: A special court on Wednesday extended till September 13 the judicial remand of Imran Khan in a case related to the alleged disclosure of state secrets, dashing the beleaguered former Pakistan prime minister’s hopes of quick release from jail.

Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, who arrived at Attock jail in the Punjab province to conduct the hearing, issued the order in the case of the missing cipher, a classified state document that Khan had waved during a political rally ahead of his ouster from office last year.

The hearing of the case took place at Attock District Jail following approval by the Law ministry amid security concerns expressed by the Interior ministry.

Khan was imprisoned after a district court sentenced him to three years in jail in the Toshakhana case on August 5. While the Islamabad high court suspended the jail sentence ordering his release, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader continued to remain in prison in the Cipher case, which is related to the alleged disclosure of state secrets.

Khan has for long mentioned the missing cable as evidence of a “foreign conspiracy” to remove him as the prime minister in April last year. The purported cipher (secret diplomatic cable) contained an account of a meeting between US state department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, and Pakistani envoy Asad Majeed Khan last year.

On Monday, the court extended the physical remand of Pakistan’s former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi by two days in connection with the cipher case. Qureshi was foreign minister when the issue of the diplomatic cable erupted. He was arrested on August 19 under the Official Secrets Act for violating the secrecy of the official cable sent by the Pakistani embassy in the US to the foreign office.