ISLAMABAD: A special court rejected on Wednesday the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) plea to extend the former foreign minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s physical remand, sending him on a 14-day judicial remand instead.
The PTI leader was presented before judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain in a case related to the alleged illegal retention and disclosure of a diplomatic cypher. Qureshi appeared in court following the expiration of his two-day physical remand.
Special prosecutor Shah Khawar, FIA lawyer Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi and Qureshi’s lawyers Shoaib Shaheen and Babar Awan were present in the court.
Last week, on August 28, the special court judge told the FIA that if progress was not made in the case, he will not remand the accused in its custody any more.
The PTI stalwart filed a bail application in the court after his arrest, on which the court issued notices to the parties for September 2 and called for arguments.
Earlier, Qureshi moved the Islamabad High Court, on August 26, to declare orders pertaining to his physical remand “null and void.”
The FIA arrested Qureshi from his residence in the federal capital two weeks ago in the cypher leak case under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
The agency had booked former premier Imran Khan and Qureshi among others for “wrongful use” of official secret information and illegal retention of the cypher telegram – an official secret document – with malafide intention.
The FIR No 6/2023 read that the role of the former prime minister’s principal secretary Azam Khan, ex-planning minister Asad Umar, and other associates involved would be determined during the course of investigations.
The counter-terrorism wing (CTW) of the FIA had registered a case under sections 5 (wrongful communication, etc, of information) and 9 (attempts, incitements, etc) of the Official Secrets Act of 1923 read with Section 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the then interior secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar in Islamabad.
The FIR revealed that the case had been registered upon the conclusion of an enquiry No111/2023 dated Oct 5, 2022, registered in the FIA’s CTW.