The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has accepted the intra-court appeal of Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan in the Saafar case, criticizing the jail trial and declaring the notification of August 29 as illegal. The court, led by Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Thamer Rafaat Imtiaz, emphasized that the process followed did not constitute an open trial.
During the hearing, the court acknowledged the appeal from Chairman PTI, stating that the notification issued by the Ministry of Law on November 15, following cabinet approval, marked the execution of Section 352 for the trial in jail. However, it was asserted that this procedure did not align with the outlined legal process.
Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for Chairman PTI, argued that the mechanism for a jail trial is in place, emphasizing that the first step involves the trial judge making a decision. Following this, cabinet approval is necessary, and the trial judge must pass a judicial order on the reasons for the jail trial. Subsequently, the federal government’s approval is sought based on the chief commissioner’s request. Justices Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb and Thamer Rafaat Imtiaz stated that while a trial in jail is permissible, it must adhere to the legal procedures laid out in the law.
Salman Akram Raja referred to a letter from November 8 by Special Court Judge Abu al-Hasanat Zulqarnain, stating that the judicial order for the jail trial is essential. He argued that this judicial order gives us the right to be heard, highlighting that the proceedings before November 16 were unlawful.
The court observed that the trial in jail was initiated after the judicial remand proceedings on August 16. It was acknowledged that an open court hearing would have been illegal without the federal cabinet’s approval. The court also highlighted the need for a judicial order regarding the jail trial, asserting that the legal process necessitates the trial judge’s decision first.
Salman Akram Raja emphasized that the letter of November 8 clarifies the position, stating that the judicial order should have been passed to avoid future complications. The court noted the complexity of the situation and agreed that, to prevent future challenges, the judicial order for the jail trial should have been issued.
The Islamabad High Court accepted Chairman PTI Imran Khan’s appeal, indicating the need for adherence to proper legal procedures in initiating a jail trial, emphasizing the importance of a judicial order in the process.