Cypher Case: Former Pak PM Imran Khan, his top aide Qureshi sentenced to 10 years jail


A Pakistan court has sentenced former prime minister Imran Khan and former Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to jail for 10 years each in a case involving leaking of state secrets, local media reported on Tuesday.

READ: Complete coverage of the Imran Khan saga, including Justice Markandey Katju’s opinion pieces

A special court established under the Official Secrets Act sentenced Pakistan Tehreeke-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Khan and former Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi handed out the 10-year jail sentence in the cypher case, Dawn reported.

Former Pakistan PM and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan being arrested by Pakistani rangers from outside the Islamabad High Court in Pakistan last year

The verdict was announced by special court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain during the hearing held at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

The special court had begun the cipher trial afresh last month at the Adiala district jail after Imran and Qureshi were indicted for a second time in the case on December 13, Dawn News reported.

The former premier and Qureshi, who is also behind bars, were first indicted in the case in October. Both had pleaded not guilty. The IHC had termed the government’s notification for a jail trial “erroneous” and scrapped the entire proceedings.

Taking to social media platform X, Khan said, “This is not a trial but a fixed match whose outcome was predetermined by the characters and planners of the London Plan and their seals. That is why I already know the decision of this case.”

He added, “Remember that Cipher is a case which has been declared null and void twice by the Islamabad High Court and ordered to be re-tried because both times the case was tried to be run in violation of the constitution and the law. Then the Supreme Court has also given me bail in this case because the whole building of this case has been built on lies, bullying, conspiracy and deceit.”

The former Pakistan PM also alleged that “these people want to provoke you by giving me a harsh sentence in this case so that you go out on the streets and protest, then add your unknowns to it and do another false flag operation in the style of May 9 to get those results. Attempts should be made which could not be achieved by the earlier false flag operation. Second, they want you people to stay at home on February 8, disappointed and angry.”

He urged, “My Pakistanis! This is your war and this is your test that you have to take revenge for every injustice by your vote on February 8 while remaining peaceful. Innocent Pakistanis imprisoned in jails for the last 8 months will get justice and release now only with your vote. I believe that just as you broke the chains of fear yesterday, you will come out in millions on election day and defeat the planners of the London plan by the power of your vote and tell them that we There are no sheep that can be driven with a stick. I believe that February 8 will be our day of victory. God willing.”

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s caretaker federal government challenged the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to declare its notification regarding the jail trial of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader in the cypher case as null and void.

It reported that the government filed a petition in the apex court to overturn the High Court’s decision saying that the High Court did not evaluate the facts of the case properly.

It contended that the IHC did not have the authority to declare a special court formed to hold cypher trial of the former premier invalid.

As per Geo News, in November last year, the IHC nullified the notification for conducting PTI founder Imran Khan’s jail trial in the cypher case registered on charges of leaking state secrets.

An IHC division bench, comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, announced the verdict on November 21, 2023 on Imran’s intra-court appeal against a single-member bench’s decision to approve his jail trial in the cypher case under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

Earlier, allowing Khan’s intra-court appeal, the division bench declared the law ministry’s notification “to be without lawful authority and no legal effect”.
The IHC stated in the three-page short order that the jail trial can be conducted in “exceptional circumstances”.

“In exceptional circumstances and where it is conducive to justice, a trial can be conducted in jail in a manner that fulfills the requirements of an open trial or a trial in camera, provided it is in accordance with the procedure provided by law.

“The court also declared that the November 15 notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice after the caretaker cabinet’s approval of the jail trial “cannot be given retrospective effect”.

Geo News reported that Imran’s cypher trial was started afresh, but the IHC declared all the proceedings in the cypher case conducted by a special court after December 14, 2023, invalid.

Last week, state defence counsels had been appointed due to the previously appointed ones who had agreed to conduct cross-examinations not appearing in the next two court hearings.
Imran had said the trial was nothing less than a “joke” because the prosecution and defence team both belonged to the government.

The cypher case involves a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency alleges was never returned by Imran Khan, with the PTI asserting the document contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran as prime minister.

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