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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Govt moves SC against IHC verdict of nullifying Jail trial of IK

The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency alleges Imran Khan failed to return.

On Friday, the interim government formally contested the Islamabad High Court’s ruling from November 21, which declared the incarceration trial of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the cipher case as illegal. The petition, jointly filed by the Ministries of Law and Interior, argued that the High Court’s decision was legally flawed and exceeded its jurisdiction.

It is essential to recall that on August 29, the Islamabad High Court had suspended Imran Khan’s sentence in the Toshakhana case. However, a special court, operating under the Official Secrets Act, directed the jail authorities to detain Imran Khan in “judicial lockup” specifically in connection to the cipher case. On the same day, the Law Ministry issued a notification expressing “no objection” to Imran’s trial in the cipher case taking place at Attock jail. Subsequently, Imran was relocated to Adiala jail in September.

The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency alleges Imran Khan failed to return. The PTI claims the document contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran as prime minister. Imran Khan and his associate Shah Mahmood Qureshi were indicted on October 23, both pleading not guilty.

On November 21, an Islamabad High Court division bench, comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, declared Imran’s appeal against the single-member bench’s approval of his jail trial in the cipher case as maintainable. The bench deemed the government’s notification for a jail trial as “erroneous” and annulled the entire proceedings. Consequently, the indictments against Imran and Qureshi were declared null and void, leading to a retrial in open court, with charges framed again on December 14.

Does not fall under the jurisdiction of IHC 

The government’s petition to the Supreme Court, filed today, names Imran Khan, the FIA Director General, Islamabad Police Chief, District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad, Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain of the special court established under the Official Secrets Act, and the superintendents of Adiala and Attock jails as respondents. The petition raises concerns about the legality and maintainability of Imran’s appeal, asserting that the High Court’s order was not sustainable and the assumption of jurisdiction was erroneous.

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The plea argues that the IHC order was not maintainable in the eye of the law and went beyond the scope of the initial petition. Referring to previous apex court orders, it emphasizes that executive actions cannot be considered as legal proceedings. The government also contends that the Official Secrets Act aims to protect state-level secrets, and the IHC did not properly discuss Section 14, which excludes the public from proceedings.