Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan charged in cipher case

Mr. Khan and Mr. Qureshi have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

October 23, 2023 02:00 pm | Updated 02:18 pm IST - Islamabad

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. File

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

A special court in Pakistan on October 23 indicted that former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the cipher case for allegedly violating the secret laws of the country.

Mr. Khan, 71, was arrested in August after a case was filed against him for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act by disclosing a secret diplomatic cable (cipher) sent by the country’s embassy in Washington in March last year. Former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also indicted along with Khan.

Mr. Khan had used that document to build a narrative that his government was ousted as a result of a foreign conspiracy. The hearing of the case was held at the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi by special court judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain. Mr. Khan and Mr. Qureshi have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After the indictment, the court adjourned the hearing till October 27 when it will start the formal trial.

Earlier after hearing the case last week, the court had adjourned the hearing till October 23 with the remarks that Mr. Khan and Mr. Qureshi would be indicted on that day.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on September 30 presented the charge sheet against Mr. Khan and Mr. Qureshi who signed its copies.

The court was earlier set to indict Mr. Khan on October 17 but it delayed it after Mr. Khan’s lawyers objected that he was not provided with the copies of charge sheet.

The cipher case concerns a diplomatic cable, which reportedly went missing from Mr. Khan's possession. Imran Khan had repeatedly said before and after the no-confidence motion against him last year that the cipher pointed to a conspiracy to remove him from the Prime Minister’s office.

Mr. Khan has been in jail due to cipher case since the Islamabad High Court on August 29 granted him bail in the Toshakhana case in which he was arrested on August 5 from Lahore.

More than 150 cases have been registered against Imran Khan since ouster from power in April last year.

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