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A Pakistani court sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to 10 years in jail for revealing official secrets.

Zulfiqar Bukhari, spokesman for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the court announced the verdict at a prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

“Former Prime Minister Imran Khan and PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] vice-president Qureshi have been sentenced to 10 years each inside prison in the cipher case,” Bukhari said.

Imran Khan faced allegations that he violated the Official Secrets Act when he 'shared' the contents of a secret diplomatic cable, called the cipher.

sent by the country’s ambassador to Washington to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.

This was sent by Pakistan's US embassy in 2022.

Both Khan and Qureshi claimed that the cable had a threat from the US to topple the PTI government which was then in power in Pakistan.

The cipher case is one of more than 150 cases pending against the former prime minister.

Authorities said Khan and Qureshi, have the right to appeal the ruling in the case.

He is said to have waved the confidential document during a rally after he was toppled as prime minister.

He said at the time that the document was proof he was being threatened and that his ouster was a US conspiracy, executed by the military and the government in Pakistan.

US and Pakistani officials have denied the claim.

A US publication has obtained a classified document, suggesting Washington pushed for the removal of Imran Khan from office over his neutrality on the Ukraine war.

Khan was ousted through a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April 2022 and is currently serving a three-year prison sentence in a graft case.

Tuesday’s judgment comes ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections scheduled on February 8.

Khan, a former cricket star turned politician, is barred from running in the elections due to his previous criminal conviction.

He said the legal cases against him were a plot to sideline him ahead of the vote.

Pakistan’s independent human rights commission has said there is little chance of a free and fair parliamentary election next month because of “pre-poll rigging.” The rights group also expressed concern about authorities rejecting the candidacies of Khan and senior figures from his party.

Original Article Source: Al Manar | Published on Tuesday, 30 January 2024 13:04 (about 136 days ago)