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Cipher case: Pakistan challenges acquittals of ex-PM Imran and ex-FM Qureshis in Supreme Court

Cipher case: Pakistan challenges acquittals of ex-PM Imran and ex-FM Qureshis in Supreme Court
Cipher case: Pakistan challenges acquittals of ex-PM Imran and ex-FM Qureshis in Supreme Court

 


ISLAMABAD – The federal government on Thursday challenged the acquittals of PTI founder Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the encryption case in the Supreme Court.

The figure affair concerns a diplomatic document which, according to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) indictment, was never returned by the then Prime Minister Imran, who for a long time argued that the document contained a threat by the United States to overthrow his government.

A special court, established under the Official Secrets Act, sentenced Imran and Qureshi to 10 years in prison each in the case in January after Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain appointed a prosecutor to defend them.

Last week, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb acquitted the two men after accepting the former prime minister and diplomat's appeals against their conviction in this case.

The judgment was criticized by the government, which claimed that the IHC had not considered the case in the context of national security. At a press conference, the Prime Minister's spokesperson for legal affairs, lawyer Aqeel Malik, said the prosecution would decide whether to appeal the IHC verdict.

The verdict was challenged today in an application to the apex court through the Home Secretary, who asked that leave to appeal be granted and the plea converted into a best interest appeal of Justice.

The petition argued that the IHC order was perverse, arbitrary and contrary to the materials available on record and was therefore liable to be set aside.

He argued that the Official Secrets Act (OSA) of 1923 did not provide for the possibility of appealing the judgment of the judge of the special court and that the IHC failed to appreciate that it lacked the jurisdiction or power to create rights that were not granted. by the Constitution or a validly promulgated law.

The petition stated that the law did not say that the provisions of the Pakistan Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1958, would be applicable for appeal.

It is an established principle of law that when the legislature has not provided for something in the language of the statute, the court cannot go beyond its jurisdiction and interpret something in the statute, because that would be ultra vires the powers available to the court under the law. constitution and would constitute an order without jurisdiction, he argued.

He added that the special law would have an overriding effect on the general law and therefore the criminal procedure code was not applicable in the case of those tried for offenses under the OSA.

The respondents were uncooperative throughout the trial and made every effort to delay the proceedings. The record of the trial court proves that 65 miscellaneous motions filed by respondents were heard and decided by the trial court.

The case was adjourned several times at the request of the respondents or their lawyers. The witnesses remained present in court but their cross-examination was not conducted by defense lawyers. The learned trial court appointed the defense lawyers at the expense of the State, which had completed the trial. The respondents have attempted to defeat the cause of justice through indefinite procrastination, the petition said, adding that these aspects were not taken into account by the IHC.

The plea held that it was a well-settled principle of law that if a court came to the conclusion that a trial had not been conducted in a fair manner, the only outcome provided by law was to dismiss the case to the court of first instance to give him appropriate opportunities.

He said the prosecution had produced overwhelming evidence to support its case and the confession of the accused was sufficient to establish the case beyond the shadow of doubt.

The prosecution produced the documentary evidence as well as its forensic analysis through reliable and confidence-inspiring evidence which was not denied during cross-examination, but this aspect was not appreciated by the honorable division of the IHC, during the acquittal of the respondents, as the contested judgment is therefore not sustainable in the eyes of the law.

The impugned judgment/abbreviated order does not reflect any grounds for acquittal of the respondent even though it is not observed that the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond the shadow of doubt .

That with utmost respect, he submitted that the IHC failed to appreciate the evidence available on record as well as the confession of the accused, while acquitting the respondents, the impugned judgment is therefore not sustainable in the eyes of the law, concludes the plea.

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