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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued notices to the Federation, Ministry of Law, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan’s Intra Court Appeal (ICA) challenging the appointment of an anti-terrorism court judge as presiding officer of the special court for the cipher case and his trial in jail under the Official Secrets Act.

A division bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Raffat Imtiaz, on Thursday, heard the ICA of Imran Khan who filed it through his counsel Barrister Salman Akram Raja advocate.

During the hearing, Justice Maingul Hassan remarked that we are in 2023 and we are in the period of open policy. He added that it is the period of openness where dispensation of the justice should be exhibited.

Barrister Raja adopted the stance that the appointment of judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain was “unconstitutional” because the Law Ministry notified it without prior consultation with the chief justice.

Responding to it, additional attorney general Munawar Iqbal Duggal stated that the judge was appointed as per law after the consultation with the chief justice.

After reviewing the written reply submitted by the Law Ministry, the court asked that it intended to see the decision of the federal cabinet to know how the appointment of the judge of the Special Court was made?

The AAG mentioned that it was written in clause iii of paragraph 6 in the summary sent by the Law Ministry that the Federal Cabinet approved the summary sent by the ministry in this connection. He added that the notification was issued after the approval of the federal cabinet.

Raja contended that the judge should be appointed after consultation with the concerned chief justice but the federal government appointed a judge of the Special Court of Official Secret Act on its own.

At that, the bench said that they could ask the Registrar Office whether the process of consultation with the chief justice was carried out or not. The AAG pointed out that it was written in the summary that the appointment of the judge was made after the consultation with the IHC chief justice.

Raja argued that the consultation should be carried out with the chief justice of Pakistan as it is a federal matter. He informed the bench that the general public, family members of the accused and the media have no access of jail trial of this case.

He further said that the trial is being conducted in a small room of the jail and the rights of the accused should also be kept in view in this matter.

Later, the bench adjourned the matter until November 6 after issuing the notices to the respondents.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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