January 31, 2024
• The cipher case involving former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has resulted in a 10-year jail sentence for both individuals. The case revolves around the disclosure of a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington in 2022, revealing details of a meeting that implicated Imran Khan’s removal from office.
The Classified Cable: Unveiling the Contents:
• The classified cable, protected under Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act 1923 of Pakistan, contained an account of a pivotal meeting between US State Department officials and then Pakistani ambassador Asad Majeed Khan. The meeting, held on March 7, 2022, addressed concerns about Imran Khan’s neutral stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The cable, labeled “Secret,” expressed displeasure and hinted at forgiving the no-confidence vote against Imran if he aligned with the US stance.
Imran Khan’s Allegations and Revelation:
• Imran Khan first brought attention to the secret document on March 27, 2022, alleging it as proof of an international conspiracy against him. He claimed that the US had sent a threatening message through Pakistan’s envoy. Despite denying publicly revealing the document’s contents, Imran faced accusations of exposing an official secret, harming Pakistan’s foreign relations.
• In response to Imran’s claims, the Pakistan Muslim League (N)-led government accused him of exposing an official secret document, leading to the registration of an FIR under Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act 1923. Conviction under this section could result in imprisonment ranging from two to 14 years, or even a death sentence. Imran was convicted in August 2023 and sentenced to three years in prison in the Toshakhana graft case, leading to his current incarceration and barring from the upcoming February 2024 elections.
• The cipher case has unfolded as a complex saga, involving international implications and allegations of conspiracy. Imran Khan’s sentencing in connection to the disclosure of the classified cable underscores the legal consequences and challenges he faces, impacting both his political career and personal liberty. The controversy surrounding the cipher case adds another chapter to the intricate political landscape of Pakistan.
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