Imran, Qureshi get 10-year jail in cipher case

PTI terms verdict flawed, illegal, vows to challenge decision given by special court n IHC dismisses Imran’s petitions against his jail trial in gifts, Al-Qadir Trust cases.


RAWALPINDI, ISLAMABAD  -  Former prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign min­ister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were handed down 10-year in jail in the missing secret cipher case yesterday. The decision was given by the special court established under the Official Secrets Act.

The short verbal verdict was announced soon after record­ing the statements of the two accused under Section 342 dur­ing the hearing, as the court held a swift hearing of the mat­ter despite the delaying tactics used by the defence. The court, presided by Judge Abul Hasan­at Zulqarnain, announced the verdict during the hearing held within the premises of Rawal­pindi’s Adiala jail. Before sen­tencing Imran, the judge asked the former premier one last time where the cipher was.

“I have mentioned in my state­ment that the Prime Minister House’s security was not my re­sponsibility. I don’t have the ci­pher,” he stated.

The cipher case pertains to a diplomatic document that the Federal Investigation Agency’s charge sheet alleges was never returned by Imran as prime min­ister. The PTI has long held that the document contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran as prime minister.

Earlier, questionnaires were prepared to record their statements as the court resumed the hearing of the cipher case. 

During the hearing, a to­tal of 25 witnesses were presented before the court. The prominent names among those cross-exam­ined by the two sets of law­yers include former foreign secretary Sohail Mehmood, former principal secretary to the PM Azam Khan, for­mer Interior Secretary Yu­suf Naseem Khokhar, inte­rior secretary Aftab Akbar Durrani and former am­bassador to the United States Asad Majeed.

Earlier in the day, the ci­pher case proceedings were again disrupted as the two accused got angry and started shouting. As the sit­uation worsened, the spe­cial court judge opted for a temporary break after which the hearing start­ed again. Qureshi object­ed to the state-appoint­ed defence counsel during cross-examination, ex­pressing difficulty attend­ing court in the current sit­uation. PTI lawyer Salman Safdar noted that the Is­lamabad High Court had deemed the trial invalid, yet the case persisted in this court for the third time. The embattled has vehe­mently rejected the special court’s judgment awarding 10 years’ sentence each to former prime minister Im­ran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case.

The party of former prime minister Imran Khan termed the court’s decision flawed and illegal which had no ground to stand on.

PTI further said that it would challenge the deci­sion in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). It added that the sentence awarded to both the leaders would fi­nally land in the dustbin at the appeal stage. In his strongly-worded reaction, PTI Central Information Sec­retary Raoof Hasan said that the mockery and murder of justice had been committed to target Khan and Qureshi for political revenge. “We will pursue all constitution­al and legal means to se­cure justice,” he vowed. He said that PTI would move the high court against the biased and flawed verdict without any loss of time.

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