’Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan could be jailed if…’: Law Minister Azam Tarar

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan could face life imprisonment for jeopardizing national security by exposing a controversial diplomatic communication, according to the country's Law Minister.

Livemint, Edited By Alka Jain
First Published21 Jul 2023
Imran Khan could be jailed for life if guilty of jeopardizing national security, said law minister.
Imran Khan could be jailed for life if guilty of jeopardizing national security, said law minister.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan could be jailed for life if he was found guilty of jeopardizing national security by exposing a controversial diplomatic communication commonly known as ‘cypher’, said Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar in a press conference on Thursday. 

In March last year, Imran Khan used a cable sent by the Pakistan embassy in Washington to blame the United States for orchestrating his ouster from power a month later, according to a report published by the news agency PTI. 

“The minimum punishment for leaking an official secret was two years. But the nature of crime would change if the cypher was made public and its contents were leaked for vested interest then an accused can be sentenced to up to 14 years,” the minister said. 

Tarar stated that 14 years of punishment is the maximum in Pakistan and is also considered life imprisonment. He clarified that the cypher, an official classified document, can neither be made public nor shared with anyone, saying that Imran was summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for interrogation on July 25 in this regard.

“National security was compromised by indiscriminate use of the cypher, as evident from the confessional statement of (former PM's aide) Azam Khan. Chairman PTI used it for his own political motives,” he added.

The law minister said that Imran Khan revealed the contents of the cypher during one of his political rallies, compromising the country’s national security, PTI reported. 

He then asserted that the cypher was not returned to the concerned authorities, adding that the case against the former premier will be thoroughly investigated on merit. The cypher saga resurfaced after Azam Khan recorded a statement that Khan used it for political purposes.

Imran Khan has already been implicated in scores of cases which were launched against him after his downfall in April last year. His party is also under pressure and several senior leaders have left him.

 

(With PTI inputs)

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