PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is in prison, asked the Supreme Court on Monday to grant post-arrest bail in the cypher case and overturn the Islamabad High Court’s November 8 ruling.
The former foreign minister’s plea challenges the IHC’s dismissal of his post-arrest bail petition on that day. The senior politician’s petition filed today said the IHC misjudged the facts.
“A baseless and politically-motivated case has been made against the petitioner,” the appeal said. The petition further claimed that the courts ignored superior court bail principles.
It also stated that the IHC order failed to consider the petitioner’s role is distinguishable from that of the principal accused and that the only allegations against the petitioner in the March 3 challan (charge sheet) are a public speech.
Qureshi’s bail appeal followed PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Supreme Court plea for post-arrest bail in the cypher case earlier this month.
The PTI chief’s counsel, Barrister Salman Safdar, asked 15 cypher case legal questions in his 18-page bail request.
The PTI head requested post-arrest bail from the Supreme Court in the “interest of justice and fairplay”.
Khan sought bail and FIR cancellation in the cypher case, but the IHC denied his requests on October 27. After both sides argued, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq reserved the court ruling on October 16.
Khan and the party’s vice Qureshi were charged with exploiting the classified material for political benefit. Khan disputed the FIR and sought bail. A Special Court under the Official Secrets Act indicted both party leaders. They’re in Adiala jail.
On March 27, 2022, Khan waved a letter at a public rally less than a month before his ouster in April 2022, claiming it was a cypher from a foreign nation that had conspired with his political rivals to overthrow the PTI government.
He did not share the letter’s contents or its country. A few days later, he accused the US of conspiring against him and said Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu wanted him gone.
An ex-Pakistan ambassador to the US, Majeed, met Lu. The former prime minister claimed “all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power” while reading the cypher.
On March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) issued a “strong demarche” to the US for “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.
After his dismissal, then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif called an NSC meeting, which discovered no foreign conspiracy in the cable.
The two audio releases that stunned the nation after these events apparently showed the former prime minister, then-federal minister Asad Umar, and then-principle secretary Azam discussing how to exploit the US cypher.
On September 30, the federal cabinet formed a committee to investigate the audio leaks. October saw the government approve action against the former prime minister and hand over the matter to the FIA.
After being appointed to investigate, FIA summoned Khan, Umar, and other party leaders, but the PTI head fought the summons and obtained a stay order. Lahore High Court (LHC) recalled stay order against FIA call-up notice to Khan in July.