IHC stays PTI chief's jail trial in cipher case

IHC stays PTI chief's jail trial in cipher case


Two-member bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat issues verdict

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ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday stayed jail trial of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman in the cipher case. 

A two-member bench hearing the PTI chief's intra-court appeal against trial in Adiala Jail issued the verdict. The bench comprised Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz. 

The development came as the caretaker federal cabinet on Monday approved the jail trial of the former prime minister and PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the case. The cabinet had given its approval to the summary sent by the Ministry of Law regarding former PM and FM's trial in Adiala Jail due to security concerns.

As the hearing started, Attorney General Mansoor Awan advanced his arguments before the court. "The federal cabinet has approved the jail trial of PTI chief," said the attorney general. He said a notification would also be furnished to the court. 

Justice Aurangzeb said they would check the notification. “All trials will be held in open court, so this trial will be an extraordinary one," he remarked. 

"If this trial is conducted in jail, it would be assumed an extraordinary one," he observed. The attorney general said this was not an extraordinary trial but just a jail trial. 

The IHC then adjourned the hearing of the intra-court appeal against jail trial till Nov 16. 

Earlier, IHC single-member bench - Chief Justice Aamer Farooq - had found no apparent malice behind conducting PTI chairman's jail trial in the cipher case. The court had also directed him to approach the trial court if reservations persisted. 

Later, the former prime minister filed an intra-court appeal against the single bench's decision. 

In August this year, PTI chief and Qureshi were booked under the Official Secrets Act 1923 in the cipher case when the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) invoked Section 5 of the said law. The diplomatic cable had reportedly gone missing from PTI chief's possession.