IHC dismisses Imran Khan's plea seeking to stop trial in cipher case

CJ Aamer Farooq directs special court to ensure PTI chief gets "fair trial"

Awais Yousafzai
Former prime minister Imran Khan gestures as he speaks with Reuters during an interview, in Lahore, March 17, 2023. — Reuters
Former prime minister Imran Khan gestures as he speaks with Reuters during an interview, in Lahore, March 17, 2023. — Reuters

  • Special court directed to ensure PTI chief Imran gets "fair trial".
  • IHC to announce verdict on Imran's bail in same case tomorrow.
  • Imran, an ex-premier, is currently being held in Adiyala Prison.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday dismissed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's petition seeking a halt in proceedings against him in the cipher case by a special court — formed under the Official Secrets Act.

The special court earlier this week indicted Imran and his deputy Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case that included charges of violating the secret law by misusing and misplacing the diplomatic cable based on conversations between Pakistan's envoy to Washington and the US diplomat during the tenure of his government last year.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the jailed deposed prime minister's plea against stopping his trial and indictment in the cipher case.

The court, while wrapping up his plea against the indictment, ordered that Imran be provided a "fair trial".

In the same case under the Official Secrets Act, the decision on the bail application of the PTI chairman will be announced tomorrow. The court has reserved its decision after hearing the arguments on the bail application.

The trial in the cipher case will begin on Friday and both Imran and Qureshi have denied the charges against them. The hearings will take place before a special court behind closed doors at the Adiyala Prison, where Imran is being held.

The PTI chief is currently facing hundreds of cases, including charges from contempt of court to terrorism and inciting violence, and was sentenced to three years for corruption in early August.

But the IHC suspended the sentence. However, the legal victory was short-lived as he was re-arrested later in August in the cipher case.

Imran's counsel seeks documents

Barrister Salman Safdar, Khan's counsel, told the court during today's hearing that the authorities had handed them the challan on October 17, and without providing them a week's time, the court indicted the PTI chief on October 23.

"[Imran] has been accused of changing the cipher's contents. But until now, we have neither been provided the amended or the original copy of the cipher," the lawyer argued.

He told the court that the cipher had not been included in the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) charge sheet against Imran.

"When I am unaware on what basis my client is being charged, then how can a trial proceed? The trial court should be ordered to provide us with the relevant documents," he pleaded.

Safdar said that there was "a secret arrest and secret remand in this case, we did not come to the court, but the way the charges were filed is not acceptable".