Former Prime Minister Imran Khan and the former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets according to an article published by CNN on January 30, 2024.
The Former Prime Minister has been in jail since August of last year and facing trial in many cases according to an article published by Al Jazeera on January 30, 2024. Imran Khan was Prime Minister from August 2018 to April 2022 before being ousted by his opponents in a vote of no confidence.
This case was brought due to Imran Khan's appearance on stage in March 2022, a month before he was ousted from power in a vote of no confidence. The former Prime Minister appeared waving a piece of paper which he confirmed detailed about a foreign conspiracy against him and inside that letter, it stated that all would be forgiven if Imran Khan is removed from power.
The Former Prime Minister did not say exactly which foreign power this diplomatic letter had come from but he became very critical of the US during that speech in which many understood that the foreign power that meant in his speech was the US.
The persecution in this case was alleged by the former Prime Minister Khan appearing on stage and talking about a conspiracy that amounted to leaking classified documents and damaging diplomatic relations. In Pakistan, damaging diplomatic relations can lead to up-to-life imprisonment or even the death sentence according to an article published by BBC News on January 30, 2024.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan's lawyer Salman Safdar in an interview with the BBC said “This is unprecedented because this trial was in the midst of recording evidence some two days ago, we have the general elections scheduled on the 8th of February and Imran Khan being the most popular leader has very bright chances of coming back to the power corridors and in fact, this prosecution and this conviction just a week before the elections is an attempt to sabotage his possibility of coming back to the power”
Mr. Salman Safdar also complained about 18 witnesses were examined in one day which is a shocking number of witnesses examined and the lawyers of Imran Khan were ousted from the proceedings which is unconstitutional and a practice not seen in the criminal jurisprudence of Pakistan.
Mr. Salman Safdar added Mr.Khan was convicted without completing a formal trial. Mr. Salman Safdar said in the interview “We are going to challenge this conviction in Islamabad High Court” and he expressed that “we are hoping within a week the appeal will be taken up and the conviction will be quashed.”
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan described the trial as “a joke” and “a sham” according to an article published by the Guardian on January 30, 2024.
Edited by: Megha Siddapura Manjunatha
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