Imran Khan Sentenced to 10 Years of Jail: Former Prime Minister of Pakistan and ex-cricketer Imran Khan has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by a special court in Rawalpindi along with his close aide and former Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The case revolves around the leaking of state secrets, specifically a diplomatic cable that Khan asserts proves a conspiracy leading to his removal from power in 2022.
A State Funded Conspiracy?
The court, operating under the Official Secrets Act, found Khan guilty of misusing a confidential cable sent by a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States. Despite Khan’s repeated denials, asserting that the document contained evidence of a plot against him orchestrated by political opponents and the military with U.S. involvement, the court ruled against him.
Second Conviction in Just a Year
Imran Khan, who served as Pakistan’s prime minister from August 2018 to April 2022, has been in jail since August last year, facing multiple trials. This verdict is his second conviction within a year, the first being in August, when he received a three-year sentence in a corruption case, barring him from participating in national elections.
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Imran Khan Sentenced to 10 Years of Jail: Lack of Transparency and Unlawful Conviction?
The timing of this sentencing, just a week before the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 8, adds a layer of political complexity. The spokesperson for Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), expressed the intention to challenge the court’s decision, alleging an “unlawful manner” in which the trial was conducted.
Despite the challenges faced by PTI, including the loss of its election symbol and a crackdown leading to the imprisonment of numerous party members, the party believes that the verdict against Khan and Qureshi will mobilize their supporters, potentially working in their favor during the elections.
“With the sentence coming at a time when elections are less than 10 days away, it will only motivate our supporters and help them come out in droves. It looks like the authorities want to suppress the PTI and its voter base, but their acts will only drive us to vote in bigger numbers,” said Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, a spokesperson for the PTI.
Benazir Shah, one of the political analysts in Pakistan said:
“it was clear from the very onset of the court proceedings [against Khan] that the state had little interest in fairly investigating the case, regardless of its serious nature”
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