The cipher case was once again heard inside the Adiala Jail on Saturday in what was supposed to be an ‘open trial’ with members of the media as well as general public allowed to witness the case’s proceedings for the first time.
However, while three reporters were allowed inside the jail, new reports have claimed that they did not witness the actual proceedings but were only shown a ‘second’ iteration of the hearing.
The report, published by BBC Urdu, said that reporters waited outside the Adiala Jail for hours in the hopes that they would finally be allowed in.
As the time dragged on, a rumour spread that the hearing had begun without the journalists. Soon, a police official was appointed as a ‘focal person’ who came to the reporters and made a list of their names.
The focal person came back with three names whose names had been approved by ‘jail authorities’: Rizwan Qazi from Dunya News (who serves as the President of Islamabad High Courts Journalist Association), Yasir Hakeem from Samaa TV and Babar Malik from ARY News.
However, the report quotes Qazi to say that the three reporters met the Federal Investigation Agency’s prosecutors Zulfiqar Naqvi and Rizwan Abbasi on their way out from the court. The prosecutors revealed that the hearing had been adjourned till December 4.
The reporters reached the court to find that judge Abu Alhasnaat Zulqurnain was leaving his seat. However, the judge stopped on seeing the reporters and told Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi that members from the media had arrived.
Qazi told BBC that the judge called back the court staff and the hearing was ‘reconducted’, albeit without the prosecutors being present or any court procedures being carried out.
However, Khan and Qureshi were permitted to speak infront of the media.
Another of the three chosen journalists, Babar Malik, told the BBC that the judge remarked that the journalists who had been kept waiting outside would be allowed in on the next hearing.
The journalists, and lawyers in the hearing, also told the BBC that there were people present at the hearing who were not seen entering the jail in the morning.
Some social media users have also linked the presence of these people to a sentence in the order issued by the special court. The sentence, which begins the order, reads: “Firstly, the public, media and other persons were also present during the proceedings…”
The order also added that Khan and Qureshi were ‘given opportunity to say something in order to resolve their grievances in presence of Media’.