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Cipher case: IHC rejects Imran Khan’s intra-court appeal against jail trial

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday rejected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s intra-court appeal against his jail trial in the cipher case.

A two-member IHC division bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat presided over the hearing.

PTI chief’s counsel Salman Akram Raja contended before the bench that the federal government did not have the authority to issue a notification for holding Khan’s trial in prison.

He said it was the domain of the Islamabad commissioner to issue jail trial notification which he said was an administrative matter.

Counsel Raja said a single bench of the IHC had declared that the federal government had the prerogative to appoint a judge of its choice.

“They are judicial officers. The federal government does not have any authority to ‘pick and choose’ [judges],” he added.

Responding to this, Justice Aurangzeb said: “In this way, the executive will interfere in the judiciary’s domain.”

The division bench said the IHC chief justice might form a new bench on the matter after a file referred to him after removing objections.

“[But] right now we cannot give you any interim relief,” Justice Aurangzeb said adding that whether the petition is admissible or not will be decided later.

Earlier this month, an IHC single bench found no apparent malice behind conducting Khan’s jail trial in the cipher case, the court’s verdict read and directed him to approach the trial court if reservations persist.

The court’s decision, announced by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, came in the wake of hearing Khan’s plea challenging his jail trial in the cipher case for days with the judge finally wrapping it up today.

The former premier, whose government was ousted following a no-confidence motion in April last year, wanted his trial in the aforementioned case to be conducted in an open court.

“The jail trial is in favour of the PTI chairman in view of his security,” the court said, adding that Khan himself has repeatedly expressed his fears about his safety.

In view of the security concerns, the authorities decided to hold the PTI chief’s trial in prison after he was arrested in August this year under the Official Secrets Act.

A day earlier, Khan along with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi was indicted in the case involving charges of misusing diplomatic cable for vested and political purposes.

Both the leaders have been imprisoned in Adiala Jail of Rawalpindi.