In a significant development, a Pakistani court has ordered an open trial for former Prime Minister Imran Khan inside the premises of Adiala Jail, where he has been detained since the end of September. The trial, related to the alleged leaking of state secrets, will be open to family members, the public, and the media. This decision comes amidst heightened security concerns and follows a recent order by the Islamabad High Court.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, 71, served as Pakistan’s leader from 2018 to April 2022. After losing a parliamentary vote of confidence, he has faced various charges, claiming they are part of a strategy by the government and the military to prevent him from participating in the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 8, 2024.
The special court in Islamabad, led by Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain, issued a short order specifying that the trial will commence on Friday within the Adiala Jail premises, located approximately 34 km from the capital. Despite an earlier order, Khan was not presented before the court on Tuesday, with the government citing serious security concerns, including a threat to his life.
The court’s ruling allows five family members of Imran Khan, along with former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is also implicated in the case, to attend the proceedings. The public and the media will also have access to the trial. However, Khan’s lawyer, Khalid Yousaf Chaudhry, expressed disappointment, stating that a trial within jail premises cannot be considered truly open. There are ongoing concerns about Khan’s security arrangements inside the jail, with claims that his life is in danger.
The case, commonly referred to as the cypher case, revolves around a diplomatic cable sent to Islamabad by a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States. Imran Khan alleges that the cable proves a conspiracy by his political opponents and the Pakistani military, in collusion with the US, leading to his removal from office. Both US and Pakistani authorities reject this charge.
As the trial unfolds within the confines of Adiala Jail, all eyes are on the proceedings that will impact the political landscape in Pakistan. Imran Khan, a prominent opposition leader, continues to face legal challenges, with this open trial marking a crucial chapter in the ongoing legal battles surrounding his political career.
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