The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday refused to give interim relief to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on his intra-court appeal against his jail trial in the cipher case.

A division bench, comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, addressed the Registrar Office objections to Khan’s intra-court appeal against his jail trial and referred the matter to the court’s chief justice for further orders.The PTI chief’s lawyer, Salman Akram Raja, submitted that the federal law ministry had issued a notification for conducting the trial of his client in the cipher case inside prison for security concerns. He said that the ministry had no authority to issue the notification as this power was vested in the commissioner.The lawyer contended that a single bench of the IHC held that it is the prerogative of the federal government to appoint a judge of its choice. He argued that the judges were judicial officers, and the government had no authority to “pick and choose” them.Justice Aurangzeb observed that such a prerogative would amount to the executive interfering in judicial powers. He said that the IHC chief justice may constitute a new bench on the matter; however, the division bench cannot grant any interim relief to the plaintiff. He added that whether the appeal is maintainable or not will be decided later, and rules cannot be violated for any person. The IHC chief justice had upheld the decision of the jail trial and the appointment of the Official Secrets Act court’s judge, which was challenged by the PTI chief through the intra-court appeal.

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