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IHC allows Shahbaz Gill’s lawyers to meet him

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  • Islamabad High Court adjourns hearing till Monday.
  • IHC seeks detailed report of Gill’s episode.
  • It rejects PTI lawyers’ plea to cancel bail extension order.

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday allowed PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s lawyers to meet him at the facility where he is undergoing medical treatment.

IHC Acting Chief Justice Amir Farooq presided over the case and allowed Gill’s lawyers to meet him after they were prohibited from meeting their client earlier in the morning.

Yesterday, a district and sessions court ordered Gill — who has been behind bars since August 9 — into police custody for a further 48 hours. However, PTI challenged the case in IHC.

Following the order of the remand’s extension, the PTI leader’s condition started to deteriorate and after hours-long drama, he was shifted to the Pakistan Institute Of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital from Adiala Jail.

A four-member medical board also unanimously noted that Gill needs to be monitored further and assessed by cardiologists and pulmonologists.

In its report, the medical board also said that Gill “is a known case of asthma since childhood and has been on inhaled bronchodilators when required, now presented with shortness of breath, body aches, including left shoulder, back, neck, fight gluteal region and left-sided chest pain”.

Today’s hearing

During the proceedings, Inspector-General Islamabad Police Akbar Nasir Khan rejected the allegations that the PTI leader was tortured in police custody.

“What happened when Shahbaz Gill’s medical examination was conducted at PIMS hospital?” Justice Farooq asked. At this, IGP Khan said that the medical reports showed that the PTI leader had difficulty breathing.

Advocate General Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Jadoon, who was present at the IHC hearing to assist the court, also noted that Gill had initially refused to undergo a medical examination.

“There is hue and cry that [Gill] was tortured. So is this all a hype created by the media, or is there any truth to it? We have to find this out,” Justice Farooq said.

Justice Farooq asked whether Gill informed the magistrate at the district and sessions court that he was tortured.

In response, Special Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi told the judge that the PTI leader did no such thing.

“So where is the petitioner now?” Justice Farooq asked.

At this, Gill’s counsel Faisal Chaudhry told the judge that Gill was currently at PIMS where he is unconscious.

Chaudhry chided the special prosecutor and told him that he should not be issuing statements on behalf of the jail administration. 

“I was not allowed to meet him today morning at the PIMS hospital.”

The judge, in response, told Chaudhry that his client’s remand case was being heard only because he was a political personality, otherwise, there are several similar cases which aren’t taken up at the high court.

The judge then asked IG Islamabad what steps will he take next amid the allegations that the PTI leader was tortured.

“We do not trust them,” Gill’s lawyers said about the police officer. At this, Justice Farooq asked them to refrain from saying things at once as it was not a “circus”.

The judge then issued a show-cause notice to Adiala Jail administration taking him into custody later than the ordered time. He also asked IG Islamabad to submit a detailed report regarding the controversy that took place at Adiala Jail over Gill’s custody.

Moving on, Chaudhry demanded the judge allow Gill’s lawyers to meet him, which the judge accepted. Justice Farooq told him that the order would be issued shortly.

The PTI lawyers demanded to suspend the order of the remand, but the IHC judge extended it to Monday and adjourned the hearing to the same date.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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