Qureshi unwell, granted permission for hospital transfer

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RAWALPINDI: A special court allowed on Thursday Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi to be relocated to a hospital after his condition reportedly deteriorated.

The permission was granted by Justice Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain – hearing the cypher case against Qureshi and PTI chief Imran Khan – on the request of prison authorities. The jail authorities informed the judge that the PTI leader should be allowed to move as per the doctor’s recommendation.

The former foreign minister was not immediately being transferred to the hospital, clarified Qureshi’s counsel, Taimur Malik. He said the permission was taken as a precautionary measure; he will be transferred if his condition worsens.

The cypher case

The cypher case pertains to a document waved by Imran, then the prime minister, at a public rally in March last year, terming it evidence of a foreign conspiracy behind the no-confidence motion he faced at that time. The motion was carried a few weeks later and Imran’s government ended.

Earlier, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a list of 28 witnesses in the cypher case against the PTI chairman and vice chairman, according to a copy of the indictment.

The special court deferred the indictment of the two leaders until October 23. FIA Prosecutor Shah Khawar informed the court that copies of the indictment papers, or challan, had been handed over to the accused.

Earlier in October, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) clubbed Imran’s other petitions, seeking dismissal of the case and stopping his trial by the special court, established under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

The PTI chairman filed another plea in the IHC seeking exemption under the Article 248. In the petition, it was stated that the Section 5 of the OSA did not apply to the cypher case.

The court had issued a notice to the FIA and sought its response by Monday (today). The court also clubbed the petition with Imran’s other pleas against the case.

Imran had also filed a separate petition with the IHC challenging the FIA’s request to hold the case’s proceedings inside the jail premises. However, the high court disposed of the plea last week after observing that an in-camera trial was in the PTI chief’s favour, asking him to approach the trial court regarding the matter.

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