A local court on Friday granted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) a further three days physical remand of PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi in cipher case registered under the Official Secretes Act. Special Court Judge Abul Hassnat Zulkernain heard the case in camera. Shah Mehmood Qureshi was produced before the court by the FIA after ending of his physical remand time. FIA’s special prosecutor Shahkhawar prayed the court to grant more nine days custody of the accused for further investigation. However, the defence lawyer opposed the request. The court after hearing arguments, granted FIA three days more remand of the accused. The PTI senior leader was represented by his counsel Shoaib Shaheen, who opposed Qureshi’s physical remand by the FIA. The special prosecutor for the cipher case, Zulfiqar Naqvi had sought a nine-day remand of the PTI leader, however, the judge remanded Qureshi into FIA’s custody for three days. Reports said the trial of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his deputy Qureshi in the cipher case, under the Official Secrets Act, is expected to start within a fortnight. The FIA is trying to complete the challan by next week for the initiation of trial in the recently formed special court. The FIA has already arrested both Khan and Qureshi in the case. The PTI vice chairman has been in the agency’s custody’s since August 19. He was later remanded by the special court in FIA’s custody for four days till August 25. Khan, on the other hand, was arrested in the same case during his imprisonment in Attock jail in the Toshakhana case. The JIT, formed to probe the cipher case, interrogated the former premier in the Attock Jail, after which he told the joint invetsigation team about losing the cipher’s cop. The JIT interrogation pertains to the diplomatic cipher which reportedly went missing from Imran’s custody and which he had for long presented as evidence of a “foreign conspiracy” to remove him as the prime minister. The counter-terrorism wing (CTW) of the FIA had registered a case under sections 5 (wrongful communication, etc, of information) and 9 (attempts, incitements, etc) of the Official Secrets Act of 1923 read with Section 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of then-Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar in Islamabad. The FIR revealed that the case had been registered upon the conclusion of an enquiry No111/2023 dated Oct 5, 2022, registered in the FIA’s CTW. It read that Imran, Qureshi, and their associates were involved in the communication of information contained in a secret classified document – a cypher telegram received from Parep Washington dated March 7, 2022, by the foreign affairs secretary – to unauthorised persons (public at large) by “twisting the facts to achieve their ulterior motives and personal gains in a manner prejudicial to the interests of state security”.