Special court appoints state defence counsel in cipher case over use of delaying tactics

Special court appoints state defence counsel in cipher case over use of delaying tactics


PTI founder and Shah Mehmood Qureshi get warning after they misbehaved with the judge

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RAWALPINDI (Web Desk) – As the defence counsel again failed to appear before the court, the judge on Saturday decided to appoint state counsel for representing the two accused – the PTI founder and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case.

The move triggered chaos in the court as the accused reacted angrily, forcing the special court judge – Abual Hasnat Mohammad Zulqarnain – to warn them.

It was Qureshi who first snatched the case from the state defence counsel [the lawyer provided by the court to a defence party] and threw it away while also resorting to shouting. Similarly, the PTI former chairman used insulting language against the judge during the hearing held at the Adiala jail.

According to the court decision, Malik Abdul Rehman and Hazrat Younus would represent the PTI founding chairman and Qureshi respectively as the state defence counsel and cross examine the prosecution witnesses.

Earlier on Friday, Raja Rizwan Abbasi – the FIA prosecutor – had requested the special court established under the Official Secrets Act to close the defence counsel’s right of cross-examination, saying the defence was applying delaying tactics to prolong the trial.

He said one of the witnesses had come from the UAE to attend the court proceedings, but the defence counsel did not bother to come to the court.

As Sikandar Zulqarnain – the lead counsel for the PTI’s former boss – was not in attendance, his associate Khalid Yousaf Chaudhry informed the court that Zulqarnain was suffering from toothache and had gone for a surgery and, therefore, was not available for cross-examination. He requested the court to adjourn the hearing till next week. The judge, however, had adjourned the hearing till Saturday (today).