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HomeNewsIHC declares notification for Imran’s jail trial in cipher case illegal

IHC declares notification for Imran’s jail trial in cipher case illegal

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The Islamabad High Court’s recent decision reverberates across the legal landscape, deeming the August 29 notification for PTI chief Imran Khan’s jail trial in the cipher case as illegal. This ruling, following an intra-court appeal by Imran, nullifies the earlier directive for his trial within the confines of a “judicial lockup.”

Initially suspended in the Toshakhana case, Imran faced a peculiar turn when a special court, operating under the Official Secrets Act, instructed authorities to confine him in “judicial lockup” for the cipher case.

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In a resounding verdict, a division bench of the IHC, led by Justice Mian­gul Hassan Aur­angzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, not only deemed Imran’s appeal maintainable but also validated the appointment of Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain overseeing the cipher case trial.

Crucially, the court invalidated the law ministry’s notification pertaining to Imran’s jail trial, emphasizing its lack of applicability.

The cipher case, revolving around an unrecovered diplomatic document, accused Imran of withholding it, with PTI contending it contained a threatening message from the US aimed at his ousting from the prime ministerial position.

Imran and his associate Shah Mahmood Qureshi, also detained, pleaded not guilty when indicted on October 23. Despite endorsing Imran’s indictment, the IHC urged a “fair trial” in its directives to the special court judge.

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During the hearing, Imran’s counsel, Advocate Salman Akram Raja, underscored procedural irregularities, stressing the necessity of judicial permissions for a jail trial and pointing out flaws in the process that initiated Imran’s confinement.

Raja highlighted the absence of explicit reasons for Imran’s jail trial in the August 29 documents and questioned the timing of the federal cabinet’s approval, which surfaced in mid-November amid ongoing legal proceedings.

On the government’s side, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan defended the trial’s conduct, citing security concerns and Imran’s family being allowed attendance.

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The courtroom drama concluded with the bench reserving its verdict, promising a concise order followed by a comprehensive one later on. The intricacies of legal procedure, the ambiguity surrounding approvals, and the security narrative have created a tense and complex legal saga, leaving Imran’s fate suspended in a web of legal intricacies.


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