Pakistan's top court grants bail to ex-PM Imran Khan in cipher case

It was not immediately clear if Mr. Khan would be released from jail as he has multiple arrest warrants issued against him in several other cases

December 22, 2023 02:39 pm | Updated 04:46 pm IST - KARACHI

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he speaks to the members of the media at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan May 18, 2023.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he speaks to the members of the media at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan May 18, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case related to an alleged leak of State secrets, possibly a huge win for his party ahead of national elections in February.

The 71-year-old former cricket star has been embroiled in a tangle of political and legal battles since he was ousted as Prime Minister in April 2022. He has not been seen in public since he was jailed for three years in August for unlawfully selling State gifts while in office from 2018 to 2022.

It was not immediately clear if or when Mr. Khan would be released from jail because of the number of arrest warrants issued against him, Salman Safdar, one of Mr. Khan’s lawyers who represented him in court, told journalists after the hearing.

A three-member bench granted Mr. Khan and his deputy party leader, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, bail subject to surety bonds of one million Pakistani rupees ($3,600) each. Both were indicted earlier this month.

Also read | Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan charged in cipher case

The State secrets charge is related to a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington last year, which Mr. Khan is accused of making public. He denies the charge, saying the contents appeared in the media from other sources.

Despite Friday’s bail, Mr. Khan remains disqualified from contesting national elections scheduled for Feb. 8 by virtue of the corruption conviction, which a high court refused to suspend on Thursday. He still plans on filing his nomination papers ahead of a Sunday deadline, his party said.

Even if the charismatic Mr. Khan were unable to contest the election, his release would be a major shot in the arm for his party as it would enable him to lead its campaign in the lead-up to the polls.

Mr. Khan is widely believed to be the country’s most popular leader and won the last general elections in 2018.

He says he is being targeted by the powerful military, which wants to keep him out of the polls. The military denies the charge.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.