Pakistan’s Imran Khan trial in jail declared illegal, lawyer says

Former prime minister was indicted for allegedly revealing official secrets after his 2022 ouster from office.

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he speaks to the members of the media at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan, May 18, 2023.
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks to the media in Lahore, Pakistan on May 18, 2023 [File: Mohsin Raza/Reuters]

The trial in jail of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been declared illegal by a court, his lawyer has said.

On Tuesday, lawyer Naeem Panjutha posted on social media that a court in Islamabad ruled against an in-jail trial for Khan, indicted last month on charges of revealing state secrets after he was ousted from office in 2022.

“Islamabad High Court has declared illegal the notification for jail trial,” Panjutha said in a post on X.

The impact of that declaration regarding Khan’s trial is not yet clear, but is expected to be clarified by a court order.

The trial against Khan, accused of publicising a classified diplomatic cable, has become a flashpoint in Pakistani politics, where the former leader remains popular and has characterised the charges against him as an effort by powerful interests to keep him out of office.

The 70-year-old former cricket star was expelled from office by a no-confidence vote in parliament in April 2022, an effort Khan accused of being pushed along by the United States.

Relations between Washington and Khan had become strained by issues such as the war in Ukraine, but the US has denied any involvement in his removal from office.

In October, Khan was indicted on security charges that accused him of leaking a diplomatic cable between Washington and Islamabad that Khan says offers proof of collusion against him.

Since his ouster last year, Khan has faced a slew of legal challenges, with the charges against him ranging from contempt of court to “terrorism” and blasphemy.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies