Imran Khan, the former Pakistani prime minister, has been handed a 10-year jail sentence in a case involving allegations of disclosing classified information.
Khan, who was removed from office by his political rivals in 2022, is currently serving a three-year prison sentence following his conviction for corruption.
He has dismissed all the charges against him as politically motivated.
The conviction under the secrets act coincides with the upcoming general elections, during which he is ineligible to run.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the former foreign minister and vice-chairman of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. The special court, located inside Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, where both men are currently held, handed down the verdict.
The cypher case centres around the purported leaking of classified diplomatic correspondence sent by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington to Islamabad during Khan’s tenure as prime minister.
This pertains to his attendance at a rally in March 2022, just a month prior to his removal from power through a vote of no confidence. Imran Khan made a dramatic entrance, confidently brandishing a document that he claimed revealed a plot against him from abroad.
According to his statement, “if Imran Khan is removed from power,” he mentioned that forgiveness would be extended. He refrained from mentioning the specific country, but later expressed strong disapproval of the United States.
The prosecution argued that the former PM’s actions were a breach of confidentiality and had negative implications for diplomatic ties. The latter accusation can result in severe consequences, including life imprisonment or even capital punishment.
Imran Khan has been detained in Adiala jail since August. Access to the proceedings in the special court has been restricted for international media throughout the past few months.
According to reports from local media, the judge received instructions to speed up the trial.
A PTI spokesperson expressed their intention to contest the court ruling, describing it as a mockery.
“We strongly oppose this unlawful decision,” Naeem Panjutha, a lawyer representing the former PM who is currently involved in numerous legal battles, shared on X (formerly Twitter).
The upcoming general election is scheduled for 8 February, with reports suggesting that the PTI is facing obstacles in their campaign efforts.