Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked a special court to summon a US embassy representative and a retired army general in a case that accuses him of exposing state secrets.
Babar Awan, a senior lawyer representing the ex-premier, told reporters on Monday in the capital, Islamabad, that Khan made the request to a special court inside Adiala Jail in the city of Rawalpindi.
The court was established to hear what is now popularly known as the "cipher case", which was filed against Khan under the Official Secrets Act of 1923 and alleges that he divulged the contents of a diplomatic cable sent last year from Pakistan’s Washington mission to Islamabad which Khan claims contained proof that his ouster from power in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April last year was part of a US conspiracy to remove him and included threats against his government.
Earlier, Khan claimed the cipher case was designed to protect former Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu.
The Pakistani government arrested Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in August this year, accusing them of exposing state secrets.
While Babar demanded international observers and non-traditional media operators, including YouTubers, be allowed to attend the open hearing inside the jail, the court said charges against Khan and Qureshi would be framed on December 12, when it meets next.
Khan and Qureshi were first indicted in the case on October 23 while the trial was held inside the jail, closed to the public and media.
They pleaded not guilty.
The Islamabad High Court called the government order for the jail trial "erroneous" and nullified the entire proceedings.
Last week, however, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain ordered the trial proceedings to continue at the Adiala Jail but in an "open court", according to Dawn newspaper.
The newspaper says that on Saturday, however, jail authorities prevented media people from entering the jail, with many local and international journalists outside when the hearing began.
It was realised after the hearing ended that only three media personnel were allowed inside.
Source: TRT World
BDST: 1001 HRS, DEC 05, 2023