Former Pakistan World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets. A court in Rawalpindi sentenced Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to prison for 10 years in a cipher case.
The prison sentencing comes a week before the general elections on February 8. Imran Khan was already banned from contesting. Khan has denied the charge, saying the evidence and his sacking as prime minister was a plan made by his political opponents and military.
Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf has faced numerous troubles, from the denial of its election symbol, the cricket bat, to the rejection of the nomination papers of Khan, Qureshi, and several other party leaders.
The Cipher case is one of more than 150 cases against Khan. Other charges range from contempt of court to terrorism and violence. Imran Khan was arrested for allegedly breaching the Official Secrets Act by divulging a confidential diplomatic cable known as the cipher from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, with its contents becoming public in March 2022.
“I have never played or watched a fixed match in my life, and I don’t want to sit here and be part of this fixed match. I am in pain, can I go?”, Khan reportedly said to his lawyers after the hearing.
During the trial, the PTI feared Khan could be sentenced to death for treason. Khan maintained his innocence and said he didn’t disclose the exact contents of the cable. Qureshi was accused of manipulating the contents of a diplomatic cable to gain political advantage.