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ISLAMABAD: The special court, on Friday, announced that hearing of the cypher case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be held in jail today (Saturday) after it received the notification issued by law minister regarding holding of trial of cypher case in jail.

Special court judge, Abual Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain, adjourned the hearing of the cypher case as well as the plea filed by the accused for issuance of their production orders till December 2.

At the start of the hearing, the judge inquired about the notification of the Law Ministry regarding the holding of jail trial of cypher case. The court staff informed the judge that so far they had not received the notification. To this, the judge said that “we would wait until we received the notification.”

The members of the PTI legal team Barrister Umair Niazi, Taimur Malik, Sikandar Zulqarnain, Ali Bukhari, and the prosecutor appeared in the court. Khan’s sisters also attended the hearing.

Qureshi’s lawyer told the court that there was no report to the extent of his client and requested the court to issue an order to present his client before the court. Taimur Malik also told the court that PTI leaders should have been presented before the court Saturday.

The judge asked both the lawyers to read his previous order. The judge said that he would review the matter once the court received the notification. “If the notification is not submitted before the court, then we will issue production orders of both the accused,” he said.

The defence counsel told the court that the previous order was legally incorrect as the Adiala Jail was a prohibited area where making of videos and taking pictures were not allowed. “It should be decided that journalists will be allowed to attend the hearing of the case,” he said.

The judge said the presence of journalists during the hearing was necessary. To this, defence counsel Sikandar said the court would need to term the jail as a court as well as declare it an un-prohibited place.

Bukhari, Qureshi’s counsel argued that the November 28 order his client was not mentioned. To this, the judge said that Khan was the prime accused and Qureshi was the co-accused.

Here, Judge Zulqarnain said, “Not only will justice be done but it will be seen as well.” He noted that the special court was bound to conduct the jail trial but the hearing was “subject to the jail”.

The judge reiterated that he was waiting for the Law Ministry’s notification, to which the defence counsel said to “shift the court to the jail”. The court noted that the IHC had not declared the trial illegal due to the proceedings but because of it not being held in an open court.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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