The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday reserved its verdict on an intra-court appeal by Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf Chairman Imran Khan pertaining to his jail trial in the cypher case.
A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Suman Rifat Imtiaz is expected to announce the decision later today.
The cypher case pertains to a document waved by Imran, then the prime minister, at a public rally in March last year, terming it evidence of a foreign conspiracy behind the no-confidence motion he faced at that time. The motion was carried a few weeks later and Imran’s government ended.
During the hearing today, Imran’s counsel Salman Akram Raja presented his arguments. He cited court rules and added that a judge’s permission was needed for a trial to be conducted within prison premises.
Read: Imran, Qureshi indicted in cypher case
He added once the permission has been granted, the judge informs the relevant ministry. Imran’s counsel further stated that the reasoning for Imran’s jail trial was not conveyed in earlier documents.
Raja maintained that the process followed for the same was incomplete.
When asked by the bench if the government’s order for a jail trial was issued to fulfill legal obligations, the counsel replied in the negative and said the cabinet’s approval came without a judicial order.
Concluding his arguments, the counsel said that all notifications issued for the jail trial were not in line with the law.
Attorney-General for Pakistan Mansoor Awan then took the rostrum and stated that a jail trial was not for ordinary people to attend and added that Imran’s family has however been allowed to attend.
The AGP added that the hearing is being held in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail and was being conducted in prison due to security reasons.
After the AGP’s arguments concluded, the bench reserved its verdict with Justice Aurangzeb saying that a short order would be issued first followed by a detailed order.
Earlier in October, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) clubbed Imran’s other petitions, seeking dismissal of the case and stopping his trial by the special court, established under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
The PTI chairman filed another plea in the IHC seeking exemption under the Article 248. In the petition, it was stated that the Section 5 of the OSA did not apply to the cypher case.
The court had issued a notice to the FIA and sought its response by Monday (today). The court also clubbed the petition with Imran’s other pleas against the case.
Imran had also filed a separate petition with the IHC challenging the FIA’s request to hold the case’s proceedings inside the jail premises. However, the high court disposed of the plea last week after observing that an in-camera trial was in the PTI chief’s favour, asking him to approach the trial court regarding the matter.