Pakistani court indicts former PM Imran Khan in state secrets case

Islamabad, Oct 23 (EFE).- A Pakistani court indicted former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his top aide, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on Monday in a case related to the leaking of official secrets.

The special court, convened to hear the case, conducted proceedings within Adiala Jail, where both Pakistani leaders are incarcerated.

The case concerns an alleged diplomatic cable that Pakistan’s then ambassador to Washington, Asad Majeed Khan, sent to the government in early 2022.

The former prime minister publicly disclosed the contents of the alleged cable and accused the United States of a conspiracy that led to his removal in a parliamentary vote in April 2022.

Qureshi was the foreign minister in Khan’s cabinet when the cipher was sent to his ministry.

Washington has denied Khan’s allegations.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Qureshi have been charged in the cipher case by the special court established under a colonial law.

The party noted that the proceedings had been conducted hastily.

During his court appearance, Khan denied he had committed any crime, saying it was a conspiracy against him that led to the ouster of his government, defense lawyer Barrister Umair Niazi said.

“Charges have not been shown to me on the basis of which the trial is ongoing. It is an illegal trial,” Khan was quoted by the lawyer as saying.

The indictment had been postponed earlier due to the defense legal team’s claim that they had not been provided with copies of the charge sheet and other legal documents.

Khan claimed that the US conspired to remove him from power over his neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, based on the content of the so-called cipher.

In March 2021, Imran Khan alleged that Pakistan’s then-ambassador Majeed Khan sent the cable back to headquarters, which detailed an alleged conversation between two American diplomats and the ambassador.

The Intercept, an American news portal, published the text of the leaked cable, alleging that US officials pressured the Pakistani envoy to remove Khan as prime minister for visiting Moscow on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2021.

Imran Khan was eventually ousted following a parliamentary no-confidence vote on Apr.10, 2022, leading to a change in government, with Shehbaz Sharif replacing him as the prime minister.

Khan was arrested on Aug 5 and is facing nearly 200 legal cases, which he has consistently denied as “politically motivated.” EFE


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