The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday challenged in Islamabad High Court the appointment of state defence lawyers for former prime minister Imran Khan in the ongoing cipher case proceedings being conducted at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
A petition was filed in court on behalf of Imran Khan. It has sought to annul the Official Secrets Act special court’s January 26 decision, adding that the case proceedings after the appointment of the state counsel should also be declared null and void.
The suspects’ counsel also pleaded that after the IHC declared the cipher trial null and void, the proceedings held since then are illegal.
Talking to the media outside the court, Imran Khan’s lawyer Hamid Khan alleged that this was the worst trial in the history of Pakistan.
“Yesterday, the lawyers were evicted from the court and proceedings were conducted. The lawyers were taken to a small room, guns were pointed at them, and they were threatened. We do not consider it a trial, it is all unconstitutional and illegal,” he alleged.
The counsel further questioned whose order the court was following to conduct the trial and pronounce the verdict as soon as possible.
Lawyer Salman Safdar said action was taken overnight to record the statements under Section 342. He said the judge’s conduct is before everyone, adding that this was not a case of 14-year or life imprisonment.
Earlier, PTI senior leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan had announced that the party would challenge the cipher case proceedings in IHC on behalf of the PTI founder.
Gohar said: “Today (Monday) in Adiala Jail, I have seen the murder of justice in front of my eyes. In the fake cases against Imran Khan, the judicial proceedings are being conducted completely contrary to the requirements of law and justice. Although the judges are bound to conduct judicial proceedings in the light of basic constitutional requirements of a fair hearing, regardless of the nature of the charges in any case.”
The PTI leader further said: “It is also the responsibility of the judges to maintain the minimum standard of transparency and justice in the trial. It is a matter of providing justice to the most popular political leader of the country, so the honorable (IHC) Chief Justice is requested to take notice and arrange for the remedy of the serious deterioration in the matter of fair hearing.”
“However, we will challenge court proceedings before the high court. It is expected from the Chief Justice Islamabad High Court that our application will be fixed for an immediate hearing and will be heard with an open heart,” Gohar said and added “As for those people who are busy drawing lines in the name of the most popular leader of the nation, they should remember that Allah, who will not let them erase the honour of the nation’s most popular leader with His mercy and grace and the unprecedented support of the people of Pakistan. God willing.”
On Monday, the cipher case against former premier Imran Khan and senior PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi entered its final stage as the court prepared a questionnaire for the accused to record their statements under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Judge Abul Hasanat Zulqarnain prepared the questionnaire after the cross-examination of all 25 prosecution witnesses was completed.