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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Pak ex-PM Imran Khan, Qureshi sentenced to 10 yrs in jail in cipher case

Date:

 A special court, established under the Official Secrets Act, on Tuesday sentenced former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to 10 years in jail in the cipher case.

The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document, which the Federal Investigation Agency’s chargesheet alleges that it was never returned by Imran.

The PTI has long held that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran as prime minister.

The verdict came nine days before the February 8 general election,

which the PTI is contesting amid a state crackdown and without an

electoral symbol, according to Dawn.

Both Imran and Qureshi have been in jail in the run-up to the

election. While Imran’s candidature was rejected, Qureshi was cleared to run from a NA seat from Thar.

But today’s conviction means that both of them have been disqualified from contesting election for the next five years, according to media reports.

This was Imran’s second conviction as he was also convicted in the Toshakhana case on Aug 5, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) had suspended his sentence.

Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain announced the verdict in the case.

At the outset of the hearing, Imran and Qureshi were given a

questionnaire under Section 342 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

After Imran recorded his statement, the court asked him about the

whereabouts of the cipher, to which he replied: “I have said the same

in my statement that I do not know. The cipher was in my office.”

The judge then sentenced the two to 10 years in jail in the case.

After announcing the verdict, the judge stepped out of the courtroom at which Qureshi protested that his statement was not recorded.

In a post on X, PTI official issued a statement saying Pakistan

stood with Imran and Qureshi “who defended Pakistan and stood for haqeeqi azadi”.

“No such sham trial can change what happened in March-April 2022, on the orders of Donald Lu,” the statement added.

“A complete mockery and disregard of the law in the cipher case shall not lead us to forget our primary responsibility in order to provide justice to Imran and Qureshi.”

The statement urged the people to come out and vote on February 8.

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