Cipher case, trial against Imran and Shah Mehmood may start in two weeks

It is possible that during the next two weeks, a trial might commence against Imran Khan, the Chairman of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf), and his deputy Shah Mahmood Qureshi under the Official Secrets Act in Islamabad (Anser Abbasi).

According to official sources, the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) is striving to complete the process of filing charges in the special court formed recently, aiming to begin the trial by next week. Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been arrested in connection with this case.

Even if Imran Khan is granted relief in the Toshakhana case and his bail request is approved, and if the sentence is suspended, he would remain in jail as he has been arrested in the Safer case.

It has been clarified that the special court was established a few months ago and was in place even before recent amendments to the Official Secrets Act. This court was established in response to FIA’s submission against Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi under the Official Secrets Act.

Reports in the media indicate that throughout the country, proceedings under the Official Secrets Act are conducted by Judge Abu al-Hasanat Zualqarnain. All these trials will be recorded.

While some believe that the special court was set up after the recent amendments in the Secrets Act, the fact is that the Ministry of Law and Justice appointed Judge Zualqarnain as the Judge ATC-I on June 27.

As per the Ministry’s notification, the Islamabad High Court had directed the judge on July 3 to assume his new responsibilities by December 8, 2025. According to the notification, Judge Zualqarnain will be the one hearing cases filed under the Official Secrets Act.

When Shah Mahmood Qureshi was arrested last week and remanded to FIA custody (until August 25), Imran Khan was also arrested in the same case. He was already in jail in the Toshakhana case.

The JIT (Joint Investigation Team) stationed at the Adiala Jail had questioned Imran Khan about the Safer case. It is reported that Imran Khan confirmed in his conversation with the JIT that he had lost the Safer file.

The JIT investigation is regarding the missing Safer file, which Imran Khan had referred to in public during an anti-confidence rally before the movement against him. He had claimed it as evidence of a global conspiracy to remove him from his position as Prime Minister.

On March 27, 2022, before the motion of no-confidence against him, former Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken out a paper (presumably the Safer file) from his pocket and waved it during a public gathering in Islamabad, alleging that it was proof of an international conspiracy against his government.