PakistanPolitics

Indictment in Cipher Case Challenged by Imran Khan

Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, has challenged his indictment in the cipher case, in which he is accused of revealing official secrets by making public the contents of a confidential diplomatic cable. He filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday, through his lawyers Salman Safdar and Khalid Yusuf.

The petition requests that the court’s order dated October 23, which initiated the indictment proceedings, be declared null and void. The petition also seeks to suspend the trial of the cipher case until the final decision of the high court.

The cipher case is related to a diplomatic document that allegedly went missing when it was in Khan’s possession. Khan, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, claims that the document proves that the US had pressured Pakistan’s military to orchestrate the fall of his government in April 2022 because he had visited Russia shortly before its invasion of Ukraine in February that year.

Khan had waved the document at a rally after his ouster in a no-confidence vote in parliament and accused Washington and the Pakistani military of conspiring against him. Both parties have denied Khan’s allegations.

Khan and his aide Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who was the foreign minister at that time, are charged with violating the Official Secrets Act 1923 by leaking state secrets and using them for political gain. The charge carries a possible death sentence or life imprisonment.

Khan is currently facing over 150 cases, including corruption charges. He is already in Adiala jail on judicial remand in the cipher case. His conviction in a separate corruption case last month resulted in him being barred from contesting elections for five years.

Khan was sentenced to three years in jail for unlawfully selling state gifts during his time as prime minister from 2018 to 2022. However, a high court suspended his prison sentence last month, but a prior order for his remand in custody in the cipher case prevented his release.

Khan’s detention was extended by two weeks on Monday by a special court that is hearing the cipher case at Attock Jail. The trial is expected to begin this week.

Khan’s lawyers have expressed confidence that he will be acquitted as he has done nothing wrong. They have also challenged the jurisdiction and legality of the special court.

Khan’s indictment comes at a time when other political parties are gearing up for general elections, which are due to be held in January next year.

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