Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been handed a ten-year jail term by a special court for revealing official secrets, his party said on Tuesday.
Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) disclosed in a statement that both Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had been sentenced to 10 years each.
Authorities state that Khan and his deputy, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, have the right to appeal against Tuesday’s ruling in what has become known as the Cipher case.
The party described the court’s decision as a “sham case”, adding that it would legally challenge it.
“We don’t accept this illegal decision,” Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha posted on X.
A Pakistani court has sentenced the former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, and one of his party deputies to 10 years in prison each for revealing official secrets.
While Khan will not be on the ballot for the February election, he remains a potent political force due to his grassroots following and anti-establishment rhetoric. He alleges that the legal cases against him are a plot to sideline him before the vote.
Violent demonstrations erupted in Pakistan after Khan’s May 2023 arrest, leading to a crackdown on his supporters and party by authorities.
Pakistan’s independent human rights commission has expressed concern about the fairness of the upcoming parliamentary election, citing “pre-poll rigging.” It also highlighted worries about authorities rejecting the candidacies of Khan and senior figures from his party.
Against Khan, a former cricketer turned Islamist politician, ranging from contempt of court to terrorism and inciting violence.
Khan is accused of waving a confidential document during a rally after being toppled as premier, claiming it was proof of threats against him and alleging a US conspiracy executed by the military and government in Pakistan. Both Washington and Pakistani officials have denied this claim.
The document he waved, nicknamed Cipher, has not been made public by either the government or Khan’s lawyers but is purportedly diplomatic correspondence between the Pakistani ambassador to Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.