Islamabad: A special court of Pakistan on Wednesday extended the judicial custody of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan till September 26 in the government confidential document leak case. Judge Abul Hasnat Zulkarnain of the newly constituted special court to hear cases related to the Official Secrets Act, 1923, heard the confidential documents leak case inside Attock jail, where the former prime minister is currently lodged. Former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also produced in the court on Wednesday after the completion of his 14-day judicial custody period.
The 70-year-old chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been in jail since August 5 after being convicted in the Toshakhana corruption case. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had suspended his sentence on August 29, but he is still in Attock jail in the confidential documents case. The special court in the case has extended his remand till September 13. Cricketer-turned-politician Khan has been accused of violating the Official Secrets Act in connection with the leak of confidential diplomatic information from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington.
The special court hearing the case extended Khan’s remand till September 26. “The judicial custody of PTI Chairman Imran Khan has been extended till September 26,” Khan’s party said in a brief message on WhatsApp. The court also extended Qureshi’s judicial custody till September 26. Earlier on Tuesday, the Law Ministry issued a notification in which no objection was raised to trial in jail. It said special court judge Abul requested that the proceedings be conducted in Attock jail “due to security reasons”.
The hearing is taking place at the end of a 14-day judicial remand ordered by the court at an earlier hearing held in the same jail. The ministry in its notification had cited security issues for allowing the hearing in the jail premises. Khan’s spokesperson Zulfiqar Bukhari opposed the petition and requested for hearing in a normal court environment. He said in a statement that ‘the hearing is continuing citing security concerns, this is a ridiculous excuse full of malice, if not in person, then the appearance can be done by video link.’
Bukhari also said that the authorities did not wait 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 conducting Khan’s trial in jail instead of Islamabad. Chief Justice Aamir Farooq concluded the proceedings by saying he would pass “appropriate orders” in this regard.