Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets, according to his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The closed-court hearing took place under the Official Secrets Act in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where Khan is already incarcerated on corruption charges. Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, also sentenced to 10 years, plan to challenge the decision in a higher court. The sentencing comes ahead of the February 8 parliamentary elections, which Khan is unable to contest due to his previous conviction.
Following the sentencing, an explosion in Pakistan’s Balochistan province left at least three people dead and seven injured. The blast occurred after a rally by PTI’s national assembly candidate, Saddam Tareen. Tareen escaped unharmed. Khan dismissed the prison sentence as a “fixed match” with a predetermined outcome and urged supporters to vote in the upcoming general elections. The sentencing is related to the “cypher case,” accusing Khan of leaking an encrypted diplomatic cable in March 2022, further complicating his legal battles.
Imran Khan has been facing various legal issues and is currently serving a three-year sentence for corruption. Despite being unable to participate in the upcoming elections, he remains a significant political force in Pakistan, insisting that the charges against him are politically motivated. The political environment is tense, with TV stations banned from airing Khan’s speeches, and many PTI party colleagues arrested.