Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi Sentenced to Ten Years in Cipher Case

In a significant development, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been sentenced to a decade-long imprisonment by a special court. The court, established under the Official Secrets Act, delivered the verdict in the cipher case, a case that has been the center of political discourse in Pakistan.

The cipher case revolves around a diplomatic document that Imran Khan allegedly failed to return. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which both Khan and Qureshi are part of, has consistently maintained that the document contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran Khan from his position as Prime Minister.

This verdict was announced just nine days before the general elections scheduled for February 8. The PTI is participating in these elections amidst a state crackdown and without an electoral symbol.

Both Khan and Qureshi have been incarcerated leading up to the elections. While Khan’s candidacy was rejected, Qureshi was approved to run for a National Assembly seat from Thar. However, the recent conviction disqualifies both of them from contesting in elections for the next five years.

This is the second time Khan has been convicted. He was previously found guilty in the Toshakhana case and sentenced to three years in prison. Although the Islamabad High Court initially suspended his sentence, a division bench later dismissed Khan’s petition seeking the suspension of the conviction.

On the other hand, this is Qureshi’s first conviction. The verdict was announced by Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain. At the beginning of the hearing, both Khan and Qureshi were given a questionnaire under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

After Khan recorded his statement, the court inquired about the location of the cipher. Khan responded that he did not know and that the cipher was in his office. Following this, the judge sentenced both Khan and Qureshi to ten years in prison.

The PTI has expressed its intention to challenge the verdict in the Islamabad High Court. In a statement, the party criticized the trial as a sham and reaffirmed its commitment to providing justice to Khan and Qureshi. The party also urged the public to vote in the upcoming elections.

PTI leader Gohar Khan criticized the judge for announcing the verdict hastily and claimed that the proceedings were not conducted in accordance with the law and the Constitution. He appealed to the well-wishers of the country to remain patient and not react to the court order.

Imran Khan’s sister, Aleema Khan, alleged that someone was instructing Judge Zulqarnain.

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