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Imran Khan’s lawyers ‘backs’ cross-examination of key witnesses in cypher case – World News Network

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 29 (ANI): In an apparent bid to avoid a retrial in the cypher case, the counsel for Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan and foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi endorsed the cross-examination of key witnesses by state-appointed counsel, Dawn reported.
The move comes as a surprise, as it contradicts the stance earlier adopted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legal team, which has maintained that the Special Court set up to prosecute the case had rushed the process of cross-examination by appointing state counsel.
In January, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnaat Muhammad Zulqarnain, cancelled the defence counsel’s right to cross-examine the witnesses, citing “absence during two court hearings”.
Dawn reported that the move irked the PTI founder, who dubbed the trial a “joke” because “the prosecution team and defence counsels both belonged to the government.”
During previous hearings, PTI leaders’ counsel, Barrister Salman Safdar, claimed that the trial court-appointed state prosecutors cross-examined 21 witnesses within a very short span of time.
Dawn reported that it is believed that the change in strategy by the council is aimed at avoiding a retrial in case the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sets aside the convictions.
The IHC has already declared the proceedings illegal once and sent the case back to the court for a fresh trial.
During the hearing on Monday, Barrister Safdar endorsed the contentious episode, saying that they “were not aggrieved by this cross-examination”.
He was arguing before an IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb Safdar, who also read out selected paragraphs of the cross-examination before the bench to substantiate his contention that the case against Khan was based on hearsay.
According to him, the cypher was not produced before the court, and the text message–reportedly sent by a US diplomat–referred to as proof that the issue ruined Pak-US relations was presented in the court without recording the sender’s testimony.
The much talked about demarcation issued to the US was also not brought on judicial record, argued Safdar. The case’s star witness, former principal secretary to PM Azam Khan, and other key witnesses, former ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan and then additional secretary in the Pakistan embassy, Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, “did not support allegations against Khan.”
In his cross-examination, Azam stated that the former PM informed him that the cypher’s copy had been misplaced and directed his military secretary and PM Office’s staff to trace it, argued the counsel.
Also, the ex-secretary didn’t confirm if the document, waved by the ex-PM during a public gathering on March 27, 2022, was the original cypher, said Safdar, Dawn reported.
He suggested that the court may play the recording of Khan’s speech at the rally.
Justice Aurangzeb remarked that the transcript of the speech was on judicial record.
Later, the court adjourned further proceedings till April 2 with CJ Farooq announcing that the hearing would start at 1 pm and would continue till 4 pm. (ANI)


Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed of ANI; only the image & headline may have been reworked by News Services Division of World News Network Inc Ltd and Palghar News and Pune News and World News


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