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Pak court to resume hearing of cipher case against Imran Khan in jail premises

A Pakistan special court on Wednesday is set to resume hearing on Wednesday of the cipher case against jailed former prime minister Imran Khan inside the Attock prison despite opposition by his aides.

The 70-year-old chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been kept in jail since August 5 after his conviction in the Toshakhana corruption case. His sentence was suspended by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on August 29, but he continues to remain in Attock prison in the cipher case. His remand has been extended till September 13 by a special court in the case.

The cricketer-turned-politician is charged with the violation of the Official Secrets Act in connection with the leakage of a confidential diplomatic cable from Pakistan's embassy in Washington.

The law ministry issued a notification on Tuesday, expressing no objections to conducting the trial in jail, saying that special court judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain requested that proceedings be held in Attock jail "due to security reasons".

The hearing comes at the end of a 14-day judicial remand which was ordered by the court on the last hearing conducted in the same jail.

The ministry in its notification cited unspecified security issues for allowing hearing in the jail premises.

However, Khan's spokesman Zulfiqar Bukhari rejected the plea and demanded a trial in a normal court environment.

"Hearing continues citing security concerns, a preposterous excuse saturated with malice when there can be video link appearance if not in person," he said in a statement.

Bukhari also said that the authorities had not waited for the outcome of the case heard by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against Khan's trial in jail.

The IHC on Tuesday reserved its order on a petition against the conduct of Khan's trial in prison, rather than Islamabad.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq concluded proceedings by saying that he would pass an "appropriate order".

Cipher Case Hearing is to proceed at Attock Prison premises on Wednesday despite a petition filed & awaiting a reserved decision by the Islamabad High Court which is yet to be announced. The hearing continues citing security concerns, a preposterous excuse saturated with malice when there can be a video link appearance if not in person.

The cipher case was filed last month against Khan on the allegations of violating secret laws of the country in the matter of a cable sent by the Pakistan embassy in Washington in March last year.


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