Cipher case: IHC to pronounce verdict today on Imran Khan’s plea against jail case

The two-member division bench reserved the verdict, which will be pronounced today at around 5:30 pm.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.  - Instagram/@imrankhan.pti
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. – Instagram/@imrankhan.pti
  • The verdict will be announced today at around 5:30 pm.
  • A two-member division bench of the IHC reserved the decision.
  • The judge says a summary order will be issued today.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday reserved its verdict on the intra-court appeal filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan against the jail trial in the Sifar case.

A division bench of Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rifat Imtiaz reserved its verdict on the petition, which will be pronounced today at around 5.30 pm.

During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb said that a brief order on the appeal would be announced today, with the detailed order to be issued later.

In a hearing on 14 November, the High Court suspended Khan’s jail trial in the Sifar case. The PTI chairman is currently in Adiala jail after being convicted by special court judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain.

The IHC order came after the caretaker federal cabinet approved the jail trial of Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the case.

Earlier, the ousted prime minister – who was removed from office following a no-confidence motion in April last year – had moved the IHC against the jail case, which was dismissed by a single bench of the court on October 16.

A single-judge bench of IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq ruled that there was no apparent mala fide behind Khan’s jail trial in the Sifar case. The court also directed him to approach the lower court if the reservation continues.

Later, Khan filed an intra-court appeal against the single bench’s decision.

today’s hearing

At the beginning of the hearing, Khan’s lawyer Salman Akram Raja presented his arguments saying that a due process should be followed for the trial in jail.

Raja told the court that the court should issue orders for jail trial with proper reasoning. “Next [the order]The second phase involves the approval of the federal government on the request of the Chief Commissioner,” he said.

He said that after approval from the cabinet, the government will have to give this information to the High Court.

“The Cabinet will have to approve the order, however, in this case the Cabinet did not give any approval before November 12,” Raja said.

Raja further said that the judge should pass a judicial order which should also include a finding that no such order has come so far.

“This is the fundamental illegality in this case,” he said.

Khan’s lawyer told the court that the judge had written a letter to the Law Ministry on November 8, although it cannot be considered a judicial order.

He further said that he believes the first request for a prison trial comes from the prosecution.

“The judge has written in his letter that the jail trial should be approved to avoid future complications. Despite the approval from the cabinet, the notification will not be implemented retrospectively,” he said.

Raja argued that the judge had talked about the future and not the past in the letter, which was sent by the Chief Commissioner to the Home Ministry and then to the Law Ministry.

Advocate Raja said that a summary was then sent to the cabinet. “The summary that was prepared on November 10 did not include the previous jail case,” he argued.

Khan’s lawyer said the Cabinet approved the case and a notification was issued. “However, the judge did not ask for retrospective approval. How can the Cabinet give its approval to something.” [judge] Wasn’t requested for,” he asked.

“Do you believe the November 13 order meets legal requirements?” Questioned Justice Aurangzeb.

To this Raja said that he did not believe it was legal as the Cabinet had approved it without any judicial order.

The bench adjourned further hearing till Tuesday (today).

What is ciphergate?

The controversy came to a head on March 27, 2022, when Imran Khan – less than a month before his ouster in April 2022 – addressed a public rally and waved a letter in front of the crowd, claiming it was a foreign nation. who had conspired to overthrow the PTI government by his political rivals.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor did he reveal the name of the country from where the letter came. But days later, he accused the United States of plotting against him and alleged that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu had sought his removal.

The reference was about former Pakistan ambassador to the US Majid Ki meeting with Lu.

The former prime minister claimed that he was reading material from the cipher, adding that “if Imran Khan is removed from power then everything will be forgiven for Pakistan”.

Then on March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) took up the matter and decided to issue a “strong demarche” to the US for its “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.

Later, after his removal, then Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called a meeting of the NSC, which concluded that it had found no evidence of any foreign conspiracy in the cable.

In two audio leaks, which took the internet by storm and shocked the public after these incidents, former Prime Minister, then federal minister Asad Umar and then principal secretary Azam Khan were allegedly heard discussing the US cipher and how to use it. Can be heard doing. This is for their benefit.

On September 30, the federal cabinet took note of the matter and constituted a committee to investigate the contents of the audio leak.

In October, the Cabinet gave the green signal to initiate action against the former Prime Minister and handed over the case to the FIA.

Once the FIA ​​was tasked to investigate the case, it summoned Imran, Asad Umar and other party leaders, but the PTI chief challenged the summons and obtained a stay order from the court.

In July 2023, the Lahore High Court (LHC) withdrew the stay order against the call-up notice to Imran by the FIA ​​and a formal trial was initiated.

In August, Khan and Qureshi were booked under the Official Secrets Act 1923 in the Cipher case after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) invoked Section 5 of the said law.

Khan and Qureshi have been convicted by a special court and are currently lodged in Adiala jail in the cipher case.

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