IHC Declares Imran Khan’s Jail Trial In Cipher Case As Unlawful


IHC declares Imran Khan’s jail trial in Cipher case as unlawful

The IHC division bench has declared appointment of the judge holding trial in the Cipher case as lawful on the ICA moved by PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

ISLAMABAD: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-Nov 21st, 2023) The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a verdict on Intra Court Appeal (ICA) of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, contesting the jail trial in the Cipher case.

The IHC division bench, consisting of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Riffat Imtiaz, disclosed the concise order following the completion of arguments from both parties. The bench affirmed the legality of the judge's appointment.

In its decision, the bench nullified the notification issued on August 29, which had authorized the jail trial for the PTI chairman and the co-accused involved in the Cipher case.

The IHC's ruling brings a resolution to the legal dispute surrounding Imran Khan's challenge to the trial, marking a significant development in the ongoing legal proceedings.

During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb observed that a concise order on the appeal would be announced today, with a more detailed order to follow.

In a previous hearing on November 14, the high court had halted Khan's jail trial in the cipher case, where he is currently held in Adiala jail following indictment by Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain.

The IHC's decision followed the caretaker Federal cabinet's approval of the jail trial for Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the case.

Formerly, the ousted prime minister had challenged the jail trial through an IHC appeal, which was dismissed by the court's single bench on October 16.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, on a single-member bench, ruled that there was no apparent malice in conducting Khan's jail trial in the cipher case, directing him to approach the trial court if reservations persisted. Subsequently, Khan filed an intra-court appeal against the single bench's decision.

During the recent hearing, Khan's lawyer Salman Akram Raja argued that a proper procedure must be followed for a jail trial, emphasizing the issuance of an order with proper reasoning and subsequent approval from the federal government.

Raja pointed out a perceived flaw in the process, asserting that the cabinet had not given approval before November 12, as required.

Raja highlighted that the judge's letter to the law ministry on November 8 could not be considered a judicial order, as it focused on future implications rather than retrospective approval. He further contended that the cabinet approved the trial without the judge's prior request, questioning the legality of the November 13 order.

The bench adjourned the hearing until Tuesday (today).

The cipher case originated on March 27, 2022, when Imran Khan, prior to his removal in April 2022, alleged a foreign conspiracy against his government. The case involves a cipher waved by Khan during a public rally, linking it to a purported plot by a foreign nation and political rivals.

The subsequent developments include accusations against the United States, audio leaks, and the initiation of a formal trial against Khan and Qureshi under the Official Secrets Act 1923. Both are currently held in Adiala jail.

Abdullah Hussain

Abdullah Hussain is a staff member who writes on politics, human rights, social issues and climate change.