Pakistan’s former Prime Minister sentenced to 10 years in prison


imran khan sitting at a conference

A Pakistan court has handed down a 10-year jail sentence to former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his close associate, former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. This ruling stems from a case involving the disclosure of classified information, known as the cypher case. The special court, convened within a prison in Rawalpindi, issued the verdict on Tuesday, alleging that Khan and Qureshi were involved in the misuse of a diplomatic cable under the Official Secrets Act. This cable, purportedly revealing a conspiracy behind Khan’s removal from power in 2022, has been at the center of contention.

Imran Khan has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, contending that the leaked document provides evidence supporting his claim of a coordinated effort by political adversaries and the military, with purported involvement from the US government, to unseat him. Despite Khan’s assertions, the court found him guilty of misappropriating the confidential communication, sent by a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States. Khan, who served as Pakistan’s premier from August 2018 to April 2022, has been incarcerated since August last year, facing trial on various charges.

This sentencing occurs just ahead of Pakistan’s general elections scheduled for February 8, adding a new layer of complexity to the country’s political landscape. Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has announced plans to challenge the court’s decision, criticising the trial process as unfair and lacking proper legal representation for Khan. Despite facing mounting legal challenges and previous convictions, Khan’s supporters remain undeterred, viewing the verdict as further motivation to rally behind the beleaguered PTI. However, analysts and legal experts have raised concerns over the transparency and fairness of the trial, suggesting it may have been politically motivated to hinder Khan’s electoral prospects and stifle dissent within the opposition ranks.