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Pakistan court sentences former PM Imran Khan to 10 years for revealing state secrets, his party calls case a ‘sham’

A Pakistani court on Tuesday sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of his party deputies to 10 years in prison each, after finding them guilty of revealing official secrets.

It is the harshest sentence against the former cricketer and comes only days before a national election.

The case pertains to allegations that Khan had made public the contents of a secret cable sent by the country’s ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad.

Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said both Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had been sentenced to 10 years each by a special court.

It said the party 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, formerly Twitter.

Khan is alleged to have waved a confidential document – a classified cable – at a rally after he was toppled. The document – dubbed Cipher – has not been made public by either the government or Khan’s lawyers, but was apparently diplomatic correspondence between the Pakistani ambassador to Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.

Khan says 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. Washington and the Pakistan military deny the accusations.

The former prime minister previously said the contents of the cable appeared in the media from other sources.

It is the second conviction for the embattled former cricket star in recent months. He was previously sentenced to three years in a corruption case.

The latest development comes ahead of the February 8 parliamentary