ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will resume hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s plea against jail trial in the cipher case today.
At the previous hearing, the court stressed the need for the court to be informed about the “circumstances” that prompted the trial to be conducted in jail. The IHC division bench, comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz will hear the case.
PTI chief Imran Khan had filed intra-court appeal against a single-member bench’s decision that had approved Imran’s jail trial. The case pertains to a diplomatic paper that the Federal Investigation Agency’s charge sheet alleges was never returned by Imran as prime minister.
The former ruling party has long held that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran as prime minister. PTI chairman Imran Khan and his aide Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is also behind bars, were indicted in the case on October 23. They have pleaded not guilty.
The IHC has later endorsed Imran’s indictment, disposing of his plea against the same, but had also instructed the special court judge hearing the cipher case to ensure a “fair trial”. Salman Akram Raja represented PTI chief Imran Khan.
The two-member bench was informed that the federal cabinet had approved Imran’s jail trial. The Attorney General said that a copy of the relevant notification would be presented. Justice Aurangzeb, however, said the court would scrutinise the notification, questioning the “extraordinary circumstances” that led to the trial being conducted in its current manner. “We want to know how it all progressed; you have to inform us,” the judge told the AGP.
The court had also sought clarification on the reasons behind the federal cabinet’s approval of the jail trial with the most important question regarding the status of court proceedings preceding the cabinet’s approval. The court is likely to give its decision on the application today.