Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court has declared the August 29 notification directing the placement of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in “judicial lockup” in the cipher case as illegal. The decision came during the hearing of an intra-court appeal filed by Khan against a single-member bench’s approval of his jail trial in the cipher case, according to media reports.
A two-member panel of the Islamabad High Court reserved judgment until later in the day after hearing Khan’s appeal. Earlier, a single-judge bench had rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s plea against his trial in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Imran Khan, 71, has been in Adiala Jail since September 26, transferred from the District Jail in Attock. The Ministry of Law had issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the jail trial following requests from the Interior Ministry and special court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain on August 29.
In March 2022, Khan and his foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were accused of violating the country’s secret laws in handling a communication (cipher) from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington. The diplomatic cable, allegedly containing a threat from the United States to topple the PTI government, went missing from Khan’s possession.
The duo was indicted on October 23, and their formal trial has commenced with witness statements being recorded. The Islamabad High Court had upheld the indictment despite Khan’s challenge but had stayed the trial pending adjudication on the intra-court appeal.