IHC announces verdict in foreign threat letter case against Imran Khan

IHC announces verdict in foreign threat letter case against Imran Khan

*The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has dismissed a petition seeking to probe the contents of a diplomatic cable sent by the former Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, and fined the petitioner Rs100,000*

The petition filed by Advocate Moulvi Iqbal Haider urged the court to try former Prime Minister Imran Khan, former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Ambassador Asad Majeed under treason charges and place their names on the no-fly list or ECL.

Addressing a public rally at Islamabad’s Parade Ground last month, then PM Imran Khan claimed that his government had received a “written threat” from outside the country.

Later on PTI leader Asad Umar told media that the letter threatens that if the no-trust motion against Imran Khan fails there will be repercussions.

Imran Khan also told a meeting of party spokesperson that the letter was received on March 7, a day before the no-confidence motion was submitted.

In his verdict, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said due to the sensitive nature of the matters relating to foreign affairs, they are not subject to trial in a court under the Article 199 of the Constitution.

“It is settled law that matters relating to foreign affairs of the country are extremely sensitive and, therefore, not justiciable while exercising extra ordinary jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution,” said the verdict.

The chief justice, in his apparent rebuke of the petitioner, said that despite being a lawyer, he failed to “appreciate the importance, sanctity and sensitive nature of the cable.”

“It is surprising because despite being an enrolled and able advocate, it appears that the petitioner probably does not appreciate the importance, sanctity and sensitive nature of a diplomatic cable sent by Pakistani diplomats,” added the verdict.

Justice Minallah said it is a fundamental duty of diplomats to share their assessments that are based on informal conversations with officials of the host governments.

The verdict added that these cables should not be subjected to controversies and litigation.

“It is definitely not in public interest nor in the interest of integrity of the State to make the cables subject of political controversies or litigation. This is likely to have profound consequences for the functioning of the foreign office because it would discourage diplomats from candid, faithful and honest reporting.”

Justice Minallah said the cable was placed before the National Security Committee, which concluded that no probe was required.