What Is The Cipher Case Leading To Imran Khan’s 10-Year Sentence?
In the high-profile cipher case, Pakistan’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years in prison. Khan was convicted of publicly disclosing the contents of a confidential document, commonly known as a cipher, sent by Islamabad’s envoy to the US for political gain.
The cipher case stems from a fiery speech made by the PTI leader and the waving of a letter during one of his rallies after being ousted in a no-confidence vote in mid-2022. In his speeches, the populist leader asserted that the cipher was evidence of his removal from power as part of a US-backed conspiracy.
Both the military establishment and Washington denied Khan’s claims. Khan was charged in August last year and subsequently indicted. In August 2023, an FIR was filed against the PTI founder by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), invoking Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act 1923 based on the complaint of the Home Secretary. The case was registered against the PTI by the anti-terrorism wing of the apex investigation agency.
During a public gathering in Islamabad on March 27, 2022, Imran Khan brandished a letter, claiming it as evidence of an “international conspiracy” backed by the United States to topple his government. Subsequently, the FIA initiated an investigation against Khan, who has been implicated in more than 150 civil and criminal cases, for allegedly disclosing a confidential diplomatic cable and retaining it.
Later, it was revealed that the PTI chief had lost the copy of the cipher, written by the then Pakistani ambassador to the US. Azam Khan, a close aide of the PTI chairman, provided a statement against Imran Khan, accusing him of promoting a false narrative about the US regime’s cipher controversy. Investigators asserted that Khan allegedly used the cipher to divert the public’s attention towards foreign involvement in the no-confidence motion by the opposition.