Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan gets 10-year jail term for disclosing state secrets

Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been sentenced to jail by a specialized court operating under the Official Secrets Act

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (Photo: National Herald archives)
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (Photo: National Herald archives)

NH Web Desk

Days ahead of Pakistan's general elections, former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi received a 10-year jail sentence on Tuesday for their involvement in what is locally known as the cipher case, involving the leaking of state secrets. The special court, established under the Official Secrets Act, pronounced the sentence, as reported by Pakistani daily Dawn.

Khan's lawyer, Naeem Panjutha, took to social media to reject the sentence, stating, "We don't accept this illegal decision" in a post on Twitter, formerly known as X.

The court's decision comes just nine days before the elections scheduled for February 8, where Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is contesting without an election symbol amid a state crackdown.

Both Khan, 71, and Qureshi, 67, are reportedly held at Rawalpindi's high-security Adiala jail. They were convicted in a case alleging the violation of the Official Secrets Act by disclosing the contents of a secret diplomatic cable, known as the cipher, sent by Pakistan's embassy in Washington in March of the previous year.

The cipher had reportedly gone missing from Khan's possession, and the duo claimed it contained a threat from the United States to topple their government.

Imran Khan, a former cricketer turned politician, had dismissed the trial as a "joke," stating on Twitter, "The prosecution team and defense counsels both belong to the government." He went further to compare it to a "fixed match," suggesting that the characters and planners of the London Plan predetermined the outcome.

Khan was ousted from the Prime Minister's post in April 2022 through a vote of no-confidence, leading to more than 150 cases being registered against him since his removal from power.

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