Islamabad, Jan 30: In the cipher case, a special court established under the Official Secrets Act on Tuesday sentenced former prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to ten years in prison, DAWN reported.
The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency’s charge sheet alleges was never returned by Imran. The PTI has long held that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran as prime minister.
The verdict comes a little over a week before the February 8 general elections, which the PTI is contesting amid a state crackdown and without an electoral symbol.
This is Imran’s second conviction as he was also convicted in the Toshakhana case on Aug 5, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had suspended his sentence. However, a division bench had later rejected Imran’s petition seeking the suspension of the conviction.
This is the former foreign minister’s first conviction.
Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain announced the verdict in the case. At the outset of the hearing, Imran and Qureshi were given a questionnaire under Section 342 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
After Imran recorded his statement, the court asked him about the whereabouts of the cipher, to which he replied: “I have said the same in my statement that I do not know. The cipher was in my office.”
The judge then sentenced the two to 10 years in jail in the case. After announcing the verdict, the judge stepped out of the courtroom, at which Qureshi protested that his statement was not recorded.