Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets.
The decision was announced by special court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain during a hearing held at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Khan’s former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also given a 10-year jail sentence as part of the cipher case.
It was alleged Khan had shared the contents of a secret cable sent by the country’s ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad.
Khan claimed the cable was proof of a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and US government to topple his government
in 2022, after he visited Moscow just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He also previously said the contents of the cable appeared in the media from other sources.
Khan’s party said they would challenge the decision and called it a “sham case”.
“We don’t accept this illegal decision,” Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha posted on social media platform X following the sentencing.
It comes as the country prepares to hold elections on February 8 – a vote Khan is barred from running in due to a previous conviction.
Khan, a former-cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted as prime minister through a no-confidence vote in April 2022.
The 71-year-old, the founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was jailed in August 2023 on corruption charges – which he has claimed are politically motivated.
While his jail term was suspended as he challenged the corruption conviction, it ruled him out of the country’s general elections next week.
Pakistan has seen violent demonstrations since Khan’s arrest last year. Authorities have cracked down on his supporters and party since then.