SC rejects PTI pleas for inquiry into cipher

Justice Isa says judiciarycannot interfere in the affairs of the executive

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The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday rejected all three appeals seeking an inquiry into the cipher associated with the alleged foreign conspiracy that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claims was behind Imran Khan’s ouster from office.

The petitions filed by Advocates Zulfiqar Bhatta, Syed Tariq Badr and Naeem ul Hassan were returned by the apex court’s registrar with objections. Justice Qazi Faez Isa presided over the in-chamber hearing and remarked that “if the government wants, it can make ciphers from all over the world public”. He stated that “if anyone else does this, he will be guilty of violating the Secret Act”, adding that the judiciary cannot “interfere in the affairs of the executive”. “Is it the job of the court to deal with foreign affairs?” asked Justice Isa .”Who was the prime minister when the cipher was received?” he further questioned.

To this, Advocate GM Chaudhry told the court that “at that time Imran Khan was the prime minister”, adding that the PTI chief had also “waved the cipher” during a rally. Justice Isa then asked if Imran Khan as then-premier took any decision to investigate the matter as he had all the powers to conduct an investigation. “All the authorities are under the prime minister. What should the court do in the case of this cipher,” he furthered.

The apex court judge also noted that he will have to read the cipher in order to conduct an inquiry. The petitioner’s counsel stated that the cipher’s investigation is a matter of fundamental rights. However, Justice Isa said that there is no issue of fundamental rights in this case and questioned “what was the effect of the cipher on our daily lives?” He maintained that “it is the job of the Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] to conduct an investigation”.

Previously, petitioner Naeem Ul Hassan through Azhar Siddique had filed a petition in the apex court, praying that “a high-powered commission of inquiry should be constituted to hold inquisitorial proceedings with regard to the anti-state activities conducted by the respondent political parties through mala fide and abuse of power under the provisions of the Constitution and for committing sedition and treason against the democratically and legally elected government”. The petitioner had said that Imran had taken various measures to restore normalcy in the affairs of the state but local political parties had been “aiding and assisting extremism in the country”.