The Pakistan Supreme Court, as reported by Dawn on Friday, approved bail for former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cypher case. The court instructed the PTI leaders to furnish surety bonds of one million Pakistani Rupees (PKR) each.
This decision was made by a three-member bench led by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and comprising Justices Athar Minallah and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, following a series of PTI petitions.
The cypher case centers around a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency alleges was never returned by Imran Khan. The PTI contends that the document contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran as prime minister.
The Special Court (Official Secrets Act) resumed the cypher trial at Adiala district jail last week, following the second indictment of Imran and Qureshi on December 13, as reported by Dawn.
The trial faced setbacks when the Islamabad High Court nullified proceedings due to an “erroneous” government notification for a jail trial. The IHC endorsed Imran’s indictment, dismissing his plea but instructed the special court judge to ensure a “fair trial.”
Despite the bail granted by the Supreme Court, Imran Khan will not be released from jail, as multiple arrest warrants have been issued against him in various cases.
In August, Imran Khan was sentenced to three years in prison and fined ₹100,000 by Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Humayun Dilawar for graft in the Toshakhana case. He was found guilty of misusing his position as prime minister to sell state gifts worth over ₹140 million (USD 490,000) received from foreign dignitaries during overseas visits.
Last month, the PTI sought Imran’s post-arrest bail in the Supreme Court, arguing that bail should not be treated as a form of punishment. The SC had issued notices to the FIA and the federation, directing them to submit responses to the plea, as reported by Dawn.
The cypher case, initiated with the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) on August 15 under the Official Secrets Act, implicates former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The FIR, based on the complaint of the Home Secretary, also involves former principal secretary Azam Khan and former planning minister Asad Umar.
The report alleges that a conspiracy was orchestrated by Khan and Qureshi to exploit the contents of the diplomatic cypher for malicious purposes, endangering state interests. The FIR anticipates action against Azam Khan and Asad Umar, concluding their involvement in the misuse of classified documents. It further claims that the former prime minister deliberately retained a copy of the diplomatic cypher sent to the PM office, instructing Azam Khan to manipulate its contents, as reported by ARY News.