Select Page

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan handed 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets2 min read

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan handed 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">2</span> min read</span>

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan was convicted of exposing official secrets and sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday, his party said, in the latest setback for the popular leader who fell afoul of the nation’s powerful military.

The verdict, which Khan’s party says was rushed and could be overturned, came nine days before the country of 240 million heads to the polls in a vote that Khan’s party has described as rigged and unfair.

Khan has been in jail since August, when a court convicted him of corruption and sentenced him to three years in prison. Even though that sentence was suspended, he remained in jail as he faced numerous other charges, including of exposing official secrets, which could have resulted in the death penalty.

The latest accusations centered on Khan having in early 2022 publicized details of a secret diplomatic cable that the former prime minister said proved the United States was behind efforts to oust him.

Tuesday’s court decision followed what Khan’s party called a “sham” trial. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said it would appeal the sentence. It had previously accused the Pakistani establishment of having deliberately rushed the sentencing to coincide with the most intense phase of campaigning ahead of next week’s general election.

With Khan barred from running for public office, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — himself once toppled in a military coup — is the most likely to be Pakistan’s next leader. He returned in October from self-imposed exile in London after rebuilding trust with the military.

Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif speaks alongside his daughter Maryam Nawaz in Lahore on Monday. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

On social media, officials linked to Sharif welcomed Khan’s conviction on Tuesday. But while the Pakistani establishment has all but dismantled Khan’s party since he was ousted in 2022, it doesn’t appear to have dented his widespread popularity.