RAWALPINDI: The arraignment of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his party’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the enigmatic case was deferred on Tuesday, as a specialized court—established under the Official Secrets Act—adjourned the hearing until the forthcoming week.
The hearing of this case took place at the Adiala penitentiary in Rawalpindi, where the copies of accusatory submissions presented by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against the PTI leaders were conferred upon the defendants.
Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, who presided over the hearing, rescheduled the arraignment for the ensuing week due to the rejection by the accused legal representatives to accept the copies of the accusations during the previous hearing.
Present in the courtroom during the proceedings were FIA’s special prosecutor, Shah Khawar, Khan, Qureshi, and their legal teams.
On October 9, during the preceding hearing, the court disseminated the copies of charges submitted by the FIA against the PTI leaders, stipulating their indictment date for today, October 17.
“The accused had declined to take possession of the charges during the previous hearing,” noted the FIA special prosecutor.
Upon framing the charges, the prosecution’s evidence will be documented, and the trial will commence. Subsequently, the defendants’ statements and testimonies will be documented by the court.
Before the hearing, PTI’s chief legal affairs focal person, Umair Niazi, declared that the accusatory submissions were not tendered during the previous hearing. Furthermore, he stated that the court had denied the prosecution’s Section 14 plea.
“The penitentiary hearing should be public, and the media should have access,” he asserted, mentioning that this would be deliberated on today.
It should be noted that the Islamabad High Court (IHC), one day prior, reserved its judgment regarding the petitions filed by the PTI chief, seeking bail following arrest and the annulment of the cryptic case filed against him.
On August 18, the ousted prime minister was indicted under the Official Secrets Act of 1923 in the cryptic case, following the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) invoking Section 5 of the aforementioned law. The diplomatic communiqué, reportedly misplaced from Imran’s possession, purportedly contained a threat from the United States to overthrow the PTI’s government.