Cipher case: IHC declares notification for Imran’s jail trial illegal

Islamabad, Nov 21 (UNI) Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday declared illegal the August 29 notification for the jail trial of former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan in “judicial lockup” in the cipher case.

The verdict, which was reserved earlier in the day, was issued on an intra-court appeal filed by Imran against a single-member bench’s decision approving the ex-premier’s jail trial in the cipher case, according to media reports.

It must be noted that on August 29, the IHC suspended Imran Khan sentence in the Toshakhana case, but a special court established under the Official Secrets Act directed jail authorities to keep Imran in “judicial lockup” in the cipher case.

In the verdict, an IHC division bench, comprising Justice Mian­gul Hassan Aur­angzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, declared Imran’s intra-court appeal maintainable.

The court also upheld the appointment of Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain, who is conducting Imran’s trial under the Official Secrets Act in the cipher case.

The court said that the notification issued by the law ministry for Imran’s jail trial was no longer applicable, Dawn news reports.

The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency’s chargesheet alleges was never returned by Imran.

The PTI has long held that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran as prime minister.

The former premier and his aide Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is also behind bars, were indicted in the case on Oct 23. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The IHC has endorsed Imran’s indictment, disposing of his plea against the same, but had also instructed the special court judge to ensure a “fair trial”.

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