A special court in Rawalpindi has sentenced former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to 10 years in prison in connection with the leaking of state secrets. The verdict was delivered on Tuesday by the court established under the Official Secrets Act, specifically in the so-called cypher case.
The case revolves around a diplomatic cable that Khan contends supports his claim of a conspiracy leading to his removal from power in 2022. The court found Khan guilty of misusing this confidential cable, which was sent by a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States.
Imran Khan, who has consistently denied the charges, asserts that the document holds evidence substantiating his belief that his ousting was a plot orchestrated by his political rivals and the influential military, with alleged assistance from the US administration. Both Washington and Islamabad have vehemently rejected these accusations.
The former prime minister, who served from August 2018 to April 2022, faced a vote of no confidence in parliament that resulted in his removal. Khan has been in jail since August of last year, concurrently facing trial in multiple cases.
This sentencing, a week before the general elections scheduled for February 8, adds a new layer of complexity to Pakistan’s political landscape. Imran Khan, a prominent figure in the country’s opposition, now confronts a legal setback amid the upcoming electoral contest, further intensifying the political climate in the region.