‘I stand by my stance,’ Qureshi says after court extends his remand in cipher case

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi has asserted that he is standing by his stance after he was handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for another two days on physical remand in the cipher case.A special court formed to hear cases under the Official Secrets Act on Monday extended former foreign minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s remand by another two days in cipher case, sources told Geo News.Speaking to the media outside the court, Qureshi said the FIA has no reason to seek his physical remand in the case and added that injustice was being done to him by violating the law.“FIA could not provide any evidence [against me] and my rights are being violated,” he added.The PTI leader he was being subjected to political victimisation and no charges had been proven against him.“I fully cooperated with the [FIA]..I am standing by my stance,” the visibly angry PTI leader remarked.The police also prevented him from interacting with media.Cipher case hearingThe FIA presented Qureshi before the court after the completion of nine-day extended physical remand today.The FIA had sought an extension of five days in the remand of the PTI leader from the special court, seized with the Cipher case under the Official Secrets Act.Special Prosecutor Zulfiqar Navi pleaded with the court that they have to recover his mobile phone, according to the sources.However, Qureshi’s counsel, Babar Awan opposed the request and cited several verdicts of superior judiciary in his defence.Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain, who has been given additional charge of the special court, heard the case.Qureshi was arrested earlier this month by the FIA’s Counter Terrorism Wing (CTW) after a case was lodged against him on the complaint of Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar under Sections 5 and 9 of Official Secrets Act 1923 r/w 34 PP.“Consequent upon the conclusion of the enquiry No. 111/2023 dated 05.10.2022, registered in the CTW, FIA Islamabad, it transpired that former prime minister namely Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, former foreign minister namely Shah Mahmood Qureshi and their other associates are involved in communications of information contained in secret classified document (Cipher Telegram received from Parep. Washington dated 7th March, 2022 to Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to the unauthorised person (i.e. public at large) by twisting the facts to achieve their ulterior motives and personal gains in a manner prejudicial to the interests of state security,” The FIR stated.During today’s hearing, the source added, Babar Awan argued that his client had nothing to do with the cipher case and read out Articles 90 and 91 of the Constitution in the court.Awan maintained that Qureshi had been in remand for the last nine days. “This is enough.”On the prosecutor’s demand for an extension in physical custody to recover the mobile phone, the PTI leader’s lawyer told the judge that Qureshi’s mobile is with FIA and there’s no need for further remand.After his counsel completed arguments, Shah Mahmood Qureshi came to the rostrum and told the judge that his mobile had been recovered by the agency and the cipher is with the Foreign Office, the sources said.

After this, the judge reserved the verdict which was announced later.