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Pakistani court docket sentences former Prime Minister Imran Khan to 10 years for revealing state secrets and techniques

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. File.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

A Pakistani court docket on January 30 sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and one in every of his get together deputies to 10 years in jail every, after discovering them responsible of showing official secrets and techniques.

The verdict was one other blow to Khan, a former cricket star turned Islamist politician, who was ousted by a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April 2022 and is at the moment serving a three-year jail sentence in a graft case.

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According to Zulfiqar Bukhari, spokesman for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf get together, the court docket introduced the decision at a jail within the garrison metropolis of Rawalpindi. Authorities stated Khan and his deputy who additionally obtained a 10-year sentence, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, have the appropriate to enchantment Tuesday’s ruling within the case, popularly referred to as the Cipher case.

The ruling comes forward of the February 8 parliamentary elections in Pakistan — a vote that Khan is barred from working in due to his earlier prison conviction.

Although Khan won’t be on the poll for the February election, he stays a potent political pressure due to his grassroots following and anti-establishment rhetoric. He says the authorized circumstances in opposition to him have been a plot to sideline him forward of the vote.

Pakistan has seen violent demonstrations since after Khan’s May 2023 arrest. Authorities have cracked down on his supporters and get together since then.

Pakistan’s unbiased human rights fee has stated there may be little probability of a free and truthful parliamentary election subsequent month due to “pre-poll rigging.” It additionally expressed concern about authorities rejecting the candidacies of Khan and senior figures from his get together.

The Cipher case is one in every of greater than 150 circumstances pending in opposition to Khan. Other expenses vary from contempt of court docket to terrorism and inciting violence.

In the secrets and techniques case, Khan is alleged to have waved a confidential doc — a categorised cable — at a rally after he was toppled. The doc — dubbed Cipher — has not been made public by both the federal government or Khan’s legal professionals however was apparently diplomatic correspondence between the Pakistani ambassador to Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.

During the speech, Khan claiming the doc was proof he was being threatened and that his ouster was a U.S. conspiracy, allegedly executed by the army and the federal government in Pakistan. Washington and Pakistani officers have denied the declare.

Tuesday’s verdict comes weeks after Khan and Qureshi have been indicted within the case.

During the trial, Khan’s get together and supporters had feared he may very well be sentenced to demise for treason. Khan has maintained his innocence and says he didn’t disclose the precise contents of the cable. Qureshi was accused of manipulating the contents of a diplomatic cable to realize political benefit.

Political analyst Syed Muhammad Ali stated the most recent verdict was anticipated. The two “indeed damaged Pakistan’s diplomatic ties with the United States, and they also embarrassed the then-Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majeed to the United States,” he stated.

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