| Welcome to Global Village Space

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Pakistan’s jailed ex-Premier Khan re-indicted in cipher case

Former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also re-indicted in case that accuses 2 politicians of exposing state secrets

A Pakistani court Wednesday re-indicted the jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his foreign minister in a case that accuses the two politicians of exposing state secrets.

A special court, which is hearing the case in a jail in the northeastern garrison city of Rawalpindi, framed the charges against Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who pleaded not guilty, a court record said.

Read more: I don’t feel safe in Pakistan: Actress Ayesha Omar

Responding to the charge sheet, Khan contended that this entire “drama” is being staged to save ex-army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and US diplomat Donald Lu.

The ex-premier accuses the US of toppling his government through a no-trust vote. Washington and Islamabad have denied the charge.

“I am not afraid of the death penalty,” Khan further said, insisting that the cipher was written to topple his government.

“How can there be a fair trial when the media is being muzzled? If a fair trial is not conducted, the responsibility will lie with you for the rest of your life,” he went on to say before the judge reminded him that “this is a court” and his tone is “not appropriate.”

Read more: Saudi Aramco Acquires Stakes in Pakistan’s Fuel Market

Separately, Qureshi said he had seen “hundreds” of ciphers during his time in office as well as issued instructions on them but the one in question was “unique.”

The trial will start on Thursday.

Khan and Qureshi were indicted in October in what is commonly known as the “cipher case.”

The indictment, however, was declared null and void when the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared their jail trial “illegal” last month.

The cipher case relates to diplomatic communications between Washington and Islamabad, which Khan said was part of a US conspiracy to topple his government.

In a related development, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the country’s top electoral body, adjourned the hearing of “contempt” of the ECP case until Dec. 19.

Khan and his former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry stand trial for issuing “contemptuous” statements against the commission.

A four-member ECP bench is hearing the case in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi.

Also, an accountability court on Wednesday rejected Khan’s bail-before-arrest plea in a case, commonly known as Toshakhana case, which accuses him of purchasing and selling of foreign gifts during his nearly four-year stint as prime minister.

Khan, who served from 2018 to 2022, lost a vote of confidence in parliament in April 2022, one year short of completing his term.

In August 2022, he was sentenced by a trial court in Islamabad for concealing details of and unlawfully selling state gifts he received as prime minister. Pakistan’s Election Commission consequently barred him from holding public office for five years.

The IHC, however, suspended his sentence weeks later and ordered his release.