Good News for the PTI Chairman Imran Khan
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared the jail trial of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in the cipher case null and void on Tuesday. The court, in a verdict announced by a division bench comprising Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Raffat, upheld the appointment of the judge of the special court under the Official Secrets Act.
Additionally, the court ruled that the federal cabinet's approval would not apply to past trials and deemed the August 29 jail trial notification as illegal.
Imran Khan, accused of leaking sensitive information and facing trial under the Official Secrets Act in Adiala jail, had filed an intra-court appeal against the jail trial. His counsel argued that the trial violated fundamental rights and questioned the legality of the judge's appointment. The counsel also challenged the validity of the federal cabinet's approval, which was granted after the trial had already commenced.
The IHC accepted Khan’s appeal, setting aside the jail trial. The court ruled that the trial did not adhere to the principles of natural justice and fair trial.
It acknowledged the lawful appointment of the judge of the special court and emphasized that the federal cabinet’s approval could not be retroactively applied to the trial. Khan's supporters welcomed the verdict as a victory for justice and democracy.
In the context of the cipher case against Imran Khan, which accuses him of leaking sensitive information, the legal proceedings were postponed until November 21. The case revolves around a classified diplomatic cable, referred to as a cypher, sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. Allegedly, the cable revealed US pressure on Pakistan to remove Imran Khan from power due to his neutrality on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.