IHC extends stay against PTI chairman’s cipher case trial till today

ISLAMABAD  -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday extended its stay order against trial of PTI chairman in the cipher case till Tuesday in an appeal against appointment of special court judge and trial in jail. The court also directed to produce the notification regarding the appointment of special court judge and reports pertaining to the security risks to the PTI chairman on next date of hearing. The bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, which heard the intra-court appeal in the cipher case, asked the petitioner’s lawyer to firstly give arguments on the maintainability of the petition.

Justice Aurangzeb said that the Attorney General for Pakistan had presented some documents, including some special reports and a letter of the CCPO. Apparently on the basis of special reports mentioning security threats, it had been decided to conduct jail trial of the accused, he noted. The Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) had sent the report to the Interior Ministry, which forwarded it to the Law Ministry and then to the trial court. 

The PTI chairman’s counsel Salman Akram Raja said that they came to know about the documents when the Attorney General presented them to the court. The court noted that the notification of jail trial did not mention the life threats and the special report of the Interior Ministry. Justice Aurangzeb remarked that the government could request for the jail trial through the prosecution.

Salman Akram Raja said the notification of Law Ministry dated October 29, for the jail trial of PTI chairman was not as per the law. There was confusion about the purpose of jail trial, he said, adding that section-9 pertained to the change of court venue not about the jail trial.

The trial court had rejected the prosecution’s application of section- 14 of Official Secrets Act. AGP Mansoor Usman Awan argued that the trial of PTI chairman was started on October 23, when the charges were framed.

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