Pak court reserves verdict on Imran Khan's plea challenging cipher case trial inside jail
The 70-year-old chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been kept in jail since August 5 after his conviction in the Toshakhana corruption case
A Pakistani court on Tuesday reserved judgement on a petition filed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan challenging the hearing of the cipher case inside the Attock prison in Punjab province.
The 70-year-old chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been kept in jail since August 5 after his conviction in the Toshakhana corruption case. His sentence was suspended by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on August 29, but he continues to remain in Attock prison in the cipher case. His remand has been extended till September 13 by a special court in the case.
The cricketer-turned-politician is charged with the violation of the Official Secrets Act in connection with the leakage of a confidential diplomatic cable from Pakistan's embassy in Washington.
During the hearing at the Islamabad High Court, Imran's counsel Sher Afzal Marwat alleged that there was malice behind the change of venue for the cipher case hearing, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
“The purpose of this change of venue notification is to keep the PTI chairman in jail. We have not even been notified why the notification was issued,” he said.
Underlining that any trial of a civilian registered under the Official Secret Acts takes place in a special court, as per the law, Marwat argued the rule should be applicable in Khan's case as well.
He further questioned under which law and authority was the law ministry able to transfer the hearing of the case to Attock Jail.
“How can the trial be transferred from Islamabad to Punjab? Transferring a trial to another province can legally be done only by the Supreme Court, not by the chief commissioner or home secretary,” Marwat argued, adding that if the trial venue was to be changed, a petition should have been filed with the trial judge.
In his argument, Additional Attorney General Mansoor Iqbal Dogal said the notification related to the jail trial was for one time only and that the exception made the PTI chief's petition ineffective.
After hearing both parties, the IHC reserved its decision in the petition.
Published: 12 Sep 2023, 3:08 PM