Former Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, could face up to 14 years in jail
Former Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has today according to his lawyers, heard that he has formally been charged under the ‘Official Secrets Act’, which could see him jailed for up to 14 years. Back at the beginning of August, Imran Khan was sentenced to three years imprisonment on ‘corruption charges’ and banned from participating in politics for 5 years.
The Toshkhana Corruption Case
His arrest while inside the court, caused an international sensation at the time, as pictures of him being manhandled and dragged from inside the court by police and security personnel were beamed across TV networks worldwide. The indictments were related to the alleged unlawful sale of gifts received by him during his premiership, in what was branded the ‘Toshakhana Corruption Case’. His legal team successfully argued that Khan had not been given the opportunity to mount a defence during the trial and an appeal court subsequently overturned the earlier ruling and suspended the sentences.
The Cipher Case
Imran Khan was however, prevented from leaving the cells as new charges for a breach in the Official Secrets Act were announced by a separate secret court, along with demands that Khan be held until a new trial date had been fixed. The new charges were connected to his making public a ‘classified’ cable which had been sent by Pakistan’s Washington Ambassador to Islamabad and which Khan argued, provided proof of an American conspiracy in conjunction with figures in the Pakistan military and opposition parties, to oust him from office. The case became known as the ‘Cipher Case’.
Imran Khan denies all charges
Although Khan does not deny waving a document in front of cameras with the suggestion that it was a classified cable, he denies that he was responsible for making public any of the contents of the cable, which he insists must have come from other sources. Similar charges have been levied against Khan’s former Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who has also been jailed during this time.
Imran Khan has remained in jail for just short of three months and Monday’s hearing took place on the site of the Adyala Jail, near Islamabad, where both Khan and Qureshi are being held.
The question remains as to whether Khan will be able to participate in the Pakistan elections scheduled for early next year
Khan’s legal team is hopeful that at a hearing to be held on Friday this week, they will be able to show that neither Khan nor Qureshi have committed any crime and that they will see the charges against them both quashed. There is still uncertainty assuming the appeal is successful, as to whether Imran Khan, will be freed from jail and able to participate in elections now scheduled for early next year, given the fact that he still faces upwards of 140 other charges for a range of indictments including terrorism, inciting violence, blasphemy, corruption and murder.