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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Tuesday, turned down Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s plea against his jail trial in the cipher case.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat heard the intra-court appeal (ICA) moved by Imran challenging a single bench’s verdict, wherein, the bench had dismissed his petition challenging his jail trial in the cipher case and directed him to approach the Special Court in this matter.

During the hearing, the PTI chairman’s counsel, Salman Akram Raja, contended that the federal government did not have the authority to issue a notification for holding Imran’s trial in prison.

He argued that it was the domain of the Islamabad commissioner to issue jail trial notification, which he said was an administrative matter. He added that a single bench of the IHC had declared that the federal government had the prerogative to appoint a judge of its choice.

He also argued that the federal government does not have any authority to “pick and choose” (judges). At that, Justice Aurangzeb said that in this way, the executive will interfere in the judiciary’s domain. The bench said that the IHC chief justice might form a new bench on the matter after a file referred to him after removing objections.

The judge said that right now they cannot give you any interim relief. He added that whether the petition is admissible or not will be decided later. He observed that the court cannot give you any temporary relief and the final decision on the admissibility of the request would also be made at a later stage. The judge further observed that the court would not compromise the established legal rules for the sake of any individual.

Later, the bench turned down the plea of the PTI chairman, saying that currently, they were addressing the objection of the registrar’s office on the petition.

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

In its decision, the court had said that the jail trial was “in favour” of the former premier keeping in mind security-related matters. It observed that there is no ill will apparent on the matter of jail trial.

The bench also mentioned that Imran had voiced his reservations relating to his security “numerous times”. He added that if the PTI chairman has reservations about the jail trial, he may approach the trial court.

In this matter, Imran, through Advocate Sher Afzal Marwat had approached the IHC against the holding of the cipher case trial in Adiala Jail. In the petition, he cited the state as a respondent. The petitioner had urged the court to restrain the respondents from “issuing any order like the one dated October 3, 2023, or any order in future for holding trial of Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi in cipher case in Adiala Jail”.

It had cited the notification issued by the Law Ministry a day ago, which had allowed Imran’s trial in the cipher case to be held in the Adiala jail due to security reasons cited by the Interior Division.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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