ISLAMABAD: A special court established under the Official Secrets Act issued a 10-year jail sentence to both former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case on Tuesday.
The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency’s charge sheet claims was not returned by Imran. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has consistently asserted that the document contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran as prime minister.
The verdict comes just over a week before the February 8 general elections, which the PTI is participating in despite a state crackdown on the party and the absence of an electoral symbol.
This marks Imran’s second conviction, following his earlier conviction in the Toshakhana case on August 5, where he was sentenced to three years in prison. Although the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had initially suspended his sentence, a division bench later rejected Imran’s petition seeking the suspension of the conviction.
On the other hand, this is Qureshi’s first conviction.
Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain announced the verdict in the case. During the hearing, both Imran and Qureshi were presented with a questionnaire under Section 342 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
After Imran provided his statement, the court inquired about the whereabouts of the cipher, to which he responded, “I have stated the same in my statement that I do not know. The cipher was in my office.”
“Khan sahib, Qureshi sahib, look at me. I hand over you 10 years in jail,” declared the judge at the conclusion of the proceedings.