Asia - Pacific

Pakistani court declares jail trial of ex-premier 'illegal'

Imran Khan was being tried in jail in case that accuses him of exposing state secrets

Aamir Latif  | 21.11.2023 - Update : 21.11.2023
Pakistani court declares jail trial of ex-premier 'illegal'

KARACHI, Pakistan

A court in Pakistan on Tuesday declared “illegal” the jail trial of the country's former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case that accuses him of exposing state secrets, according to a court record.

A two-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared a notification issued by the caretaker government late last month "illegal" and the entire trial court proceedings in jail null and void.

The court also declared that the Law Ministry's notification issued on Nov. 15 for Khan’s jail trial in multiple cases is no longer applicable, local English daily Dawn reported.

The judges, however, ruled that jail trial in "unusual circumstances" can be held but a proper procedure in this regard should be adopted.

It's, however, unclear if or not the jailed ex-premier will still be tried in jail as legal experts say the government might apply a procedure as per the IHC ruling to try Khan in prison.

The verdict comes after the caretaker Cabinet approved Khan’s jail trial in the “cipher case,” in which he is already being tried in a jail in the northeastern garrison city of Rawalpindi as well as in another two cases.

The cipher case is related to diplomatic communications between Washington and Islamabad, which Khan says was part of a US conspiracy to topple his government.

Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi were indicted in the cipher case last month. The two pleaded not guilty.

Khan, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from 2018-2022, lost a vote of confidence in parliament in April 2022, one year short of completing his term.

In August this year, he was sentenced by a trial court in Islamabad for concealing details and unlawfully selling state gifts he received as prime minister and consequently was barred from holding public office for five years by the country’s Election Commission.

The IHC, however, suspended his sentence and ordered his release weeks later.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.