LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: For­mer prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday moved the Lahore High Court (LHC), against his jail trial in a contempt case by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

A petition filed on behalf of Mr Khan contended that the ECP had, on Nov 30, passed the order to conduct the trial at Adiala Jail on account of unspecified security concerns.

It pleaded that the ECP had failed to appreciate that a jail trial will violate several fundamental rights of the petitioner, adding that ECP incorrectly held that it can order a trial in secret and in jail.

It said that the ECP failed to appreciate that unless a specific power is granted under a statute authorising it to conduct proceedings in jail, there is no inherent power to conduct proceedings in this manner.

IHC issues detailed order on plea to shift ex-PM’s case to LHC

It claimed that the ECP failed to take into account that a jail trial is a violation of Article 10-A of the constitution, which guarantees the right to fair trial and due process of law.

The petition asked the court to set aside the ECP decision and direct it to hold an open and public trial with full access to his legal team, media and public.

Justice Aalia Neelum will take up the petition on Monday.

Multiple jurisdictions

The Islamabad High Court on Saturday outlined the procedure of dealing with matters related to multiple jurisdictions in a detailed order on Mr Khan’s plea for resorting to the Lahore High Court against his disqualification by ECP.

Mr Khan was seeking withdrawal of the petition on the pretext that a similar petition was also filed in the LHC.

In the detailed order, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq observed that the rules provide “ample power to the court to refuse the claimant to withdraw the claim or abandon at any time of the proceedings”.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2023

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