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Pakistan court acquits former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi in cipher case

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the short verdict after accepting the appeals of the former premier and diplomat against their convictions in the case.

Pakistan Court acquits former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi in cipher case gcw
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First Published Jun 3, 2024, 5:38 PM IST

In a major development, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday acquitted former Prime Minister and PTI founder Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case, Dawn reported.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the short verdict after accepting the appeals of the former premier and diplomat against their convictions in the case.

Khan, 71, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a lower court on charges of making public a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan's ambassador in Washington in 2022.

The cipher case pertains to the incident in which the former premier showed a piece of paper -- allegedly a copy of a diplomatic communication -- at a public rally in Islamabad, claiming it as proof of a conspiracy against his government by a foreign power, referring to US diplomat Donald Lu, who has been at the centre of the cipher controversy.  Khan had brandished the cipher paper just two weeks before the ouster of the PTI government in April 2022 through a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.

The Federal Investigation Agency initiated the case on August 15, 2022, alleging that Khan and Qureshi had broken the law by handling a cable that was provided by the Pakistani embassy in Washington in March 2022. 

The two were first indicted in October last year but the process was reversed by the Islamabad High Court while ruling against in-camera proceedings. They were indicted again in December.

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