Pakistan: Imran Khan booked under Official Secrets Act in Cipher case

World Saturday 19/August/2023 06:50 AM
Pakistan: Imran Khan booked under Official Secrets Act in Cipher case

Islamabad : Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been booked under the Official Secrets Act 1923 in connection with the Cipher case, Geo News reported on Friday citing The News.

The counter-terrorism wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had registered the case against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman — who was ousted from office after a no-confidence motion in April last year — after ascertaining his deliberate involvement in misusing the classified document following a probe.

Geo News reported, citing government sources, that the PTI chief has been booked under Section 5 of the recently-amended act. However, authorities display reluctance in sharing a copy of the FIR.

Offences under Section 5, if proved in a court of law, involve punishment of imprisonment from two to 14 years, and in some cases even a death sentence, as per Geo News.

The matter pertains to March last year when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman brandished a letter claiming that it was evidence of an “international conspiracy” backed by the US to his topple government.

Earlier on Wednesday, a joint investigation team (JIT) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) interrogated former Imran Khan inside the Attock jail, in a case related to the cable gate saga.

Notably, the cipher case against Khan took a serious turn after his principal secretary Azam Khan stated before a magistrate as well as the FIA ​​that the former PM had used the US cipher for his 'political gains' and to avert a vote of no-confidence against him.

The former bureaucrat, in his confession, said when he provided the ex-premier with the cipher, he was “euphoric” and termed the language a “US blunder”.

According to Azam, the former PM, then said that the cable could be used for “creating a narrative against establishment and opposition”.

Azam said the US cipher was used in political gatherings by the PTI chairman, despite his advice to him to avoid such acts. He mentioned that the former prime minister also told him that the cipher could be used to divert the public’s attention towards “foreign involvement” in the opposition’s no-confidence motion, Geo News reported.

Imran, while making the claims did not reveal the contents of the letter nor mention the name of the nation that had sent it. But a few days later, he named the United States and said that “Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal”.

Months later, two audio leaks took the internet by storm and shocked the public after these events. The former prime minister, then-federal minister Asad Umar, and Azam could allegedly be heard discussing the US cipher and how to use it in their interest, as per ARY News.

Meanwhile, the ousted premier is behind bars at Attock Jail after a trial court in Islamabad found him guilty of concealing proceeds of Toshakhana (state depository) gifts that he received from foreign dignitaries as the prime minister of the country from 2018 to 2022, and sentenced him to three years in prison along with a fine of PKR 1,00,000.

Subsequently, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified him for five years from holding public office following his conviction.