IHC declares jail trial of Imran Khan in cipher case null and void

Khosa-Bushra audio leak

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday declared the jail trial of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in the cipher case as null and void.

The court, however, and upheld the appointment of the judge of the special court under the Official Secrets Act. The court also ruled that the approval of the federal cabinet will not apply to past trials, and termed the August 29 jail trial notification as illegal.

A division bench comprising Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Raffat announced the reserved verdict on the intra-court appeal filed by Khan against the jail trial of his case.

Khan was accused of leaking sensitive information and was facing trial under the Official Secrets Act in Adiala jail.

Khan’s counsel argued that the jail trial was in violation of his fundamental rights, and that the judge of the special court was not appointed in accordance with the law. He also challenged the validity of the federal cabinet’s approval for the jail trial, which was given after the trial had already commenced.

The IHC accepted Khan’s appeal and set aside the jail trial, stating that it was not in accordance with the principles of natural justice and fair trial. The court also held that the judge of the special court was appointed in a lawful manner, and that the federal cabinet’s approval could not be applied retrospectively to the trial. The verdict was welcomed by Khan’s supporters, who hailed it as a victory for justice and democracy.

Special court postpones cipher case hearing till November 21

The cipher case against Imran Khan is a legal case that accuses the former prime minister of Pakistan of leaking sensitive information.

The information was contained in a classified diplomatic cable, also known as a cypher, that was sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. The cable allegedly revealed that the US had pressured Pakistan’s authorities to remove Imran Khan from power because of his neutrality on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 Imran Khan denies the charges and claims that the case is politically motivated by his opponents, who orchestrated his ouster in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April 2022.

He also faces a separate corruption case, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison and barred from contesting elections. He is currently in custody in Adiala jail, awaiting the outcome of his appeals in both cases.

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