ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday asked a special court hearing a case against him on charges of leaking state secrets to summon the American envoy and a retired army general during his trial at a high-security prison in Rawalpindi, his lawyer said.
The court was established in August to hear what has popularly come to be called the cipher case, which was filed against Khan under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
According to its details, the former PM divulged the contents of an alleged diplomatic correspondence between Washington and Islamabad which he says proved that his ouster from power in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April 2022 was part of a US conspiracy to remove him. US authorities have repeatedly denied the accusation.
Khan initially faced an in-camera prison trial in the case. However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled this month that such hearings were illegal and ordered an open trial with media access.
“Imran Khan has requested the summoning of the US embassy representative and also named a former general,” Babar Awan, a senior lawyer representing the ex-premier, told the media outside the jail.
His statement was widely believed to be a reference to former army chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, who has been accused by the former prime minister of bringing down his administration at the behest of the US.
Earlier, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party issued a brief statement, saying the prison authorities had once again tried to restrict media presence despite similar concerns raised by its legal team during the last hearing.
“Unfortunately, media wasn't given access to today's hearing, too,” the PTI said. “Only 2-3 handpicked journalists were allowed in, in the name of [an] open court hearing. Of course, no public was allowed.”
According to local media, Khan stated his refusal to strike a deal with the government and state authorities for his release from prison.
He reiterated that his party would win the next general elections in the country, adding that his political rivals were still attempting to avoid the electoral process.
The court decided to indict Khan in the cipher case on December 12.