Imran Khan Sentenced to 10 Years for State Secrets Leak Ahead of General Election

Imran Khan Sentenced to 10 Years for State Secrets Leak Ahead of General Election

Politics World News

Islamabad, January 30, 2024: Imran Khan, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and cricket icon, received a 10-year prison sentence on Tuesday for allegedly leaking state secrets, just days before a scheduled general election. The special court found Khan, 71, guilty of publicly revealing the contents of a confidential cable from Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington to the Islamabad government, as per the announcement by his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former foreign minister, also faced a 10-year sentence in connection to the same case. This verdict followed Khan’s earlier three-year sentence in August, disqualifying him from participating in the February 8 election.

A written verdict from the court is anticipated in the coming days, and PTI has expressed its intention to challenge the ruling. Naeem Panjutha, Khan’s lawyer, voiced disagreement with the decision on social media, stating, “We don’t accept this illegal decision.” Despite the conviction, PTI has not called for protests or demonstrations before the election.

Unfortunately, on the same day as Khan’s sentencing, a bomb blast in Pakistan’s Balochistan region claimed the lives of three PTI members. The party did not provide details about the responsible party. Zulfikar Bukhari, Khan’s aide, accused the legal team of being denied the opportunity to represent Khan or cross-examine witnesses. The proceedings unfolded in the high-security Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

Ali Zafar, another of Khan’s lawyers, indicated that the circumstances of the trial and sentencing increase the likelihood of the case being overturned on appeal. Despite these legal challenges, PTI’s Bukhari deemed the conviction an attempt to weaken support for Khan, asserting that people would respond by voting in larger numbers.

Analysts suggest that the sentencing raises questions about the credibility of the upcoming election, as Pakistan seeks political stability for economic recovery under a $3 billion International Monetary Fund bailout. Khan, ousted from power in 2022, contends that the secret cable referenced in the case revealed a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and the U.S. government to topple his government in 2022.

While Washington and the Pakistani military deny these allegations, Khan’s legal battles have intensified as he fights numerous cases. His latest sentencing, combined with other challenges like the loss of PTI’s election symbol and candidates contesting as independents, has created a complex political landscape in the lead-up to the election. Despite these hurdles, Khan’s message to his supporters on social media encourages them to vote for candidates aligned with him and emphasizes peaceful participation in the electoral process.

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