Cipher Case: PTI Founder Imran Khan, Qureshi Sentenced To 10 Years 

The verdict was announced verbally by special court judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

Cipher Case: PTI Founder Imran Khan, Qureshi Sentenced To 10 Years 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi have both been sentenced to ten years in prison in the cipher case.

Special court judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain announced the verdict verbally today at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail, in the presence of both PTI leaders.

The judge has been hearing the case at Adiala Jail since last year.

Before pronouncing the decision, Judge Zulqarnain reminded the PTI leaders that their legal representatives would not be present in court and would be replaced by state lawyers.

Qureshi Denies To Record His Statement

The court also noted that Khan and Qureshi were given questions under 342. However, Qureshi said that because his lawyers are not there, they cannot record their statement.

Imran Khan Records Statement Under Article 342

In his statement recorded under Article 342, Imran Khan said, “I want to reveal how the real conspiracy was hatched. The military secretary is responsible for the security of the Prime Minister's office. Cipher was present in my office. The principal secretary and military secretary were responsible for the security of documents present in my office.”

“Just one document went missing during my three and a half-year tenure as prime minister. Cipher was stolen from my office at the behest of former army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa. I directed then-military secretary Brigadier Ahmed to conduct an inquiry into the missing cipher. Bajwa was in fear over the matter of cipher,” Khan stated.

“Bajwa and Donald Lu were involved in the conspiracy through which an elected prime minister was ousted. Any elected prime minister would raise the matter in public if such a level of conspiracy hatched against him. The conspiracy was initiated when Bajwa changed the ISI chief. Bajwa met Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sahrif and hired Husain Haqqani. Husain Haqqani has always played a role in lobbying against the Pakistan Army in the United States,” the statement said.

According to the statement, “Husain Haqqani rescued Asif Zardari in the Memogate scandal. Haqqani received $35,000 for toppling my government. Haqqani lobbied against me at the behest of Bajwa. Bajwa used the ISI to change the loyalties of my allies. I informed then army chief General (retired) Bajwa about the role of ISI, but Bajwa denied it, saying it was impossible."

“I formed a three-member committee, comprising Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Pervez Khattak, to meet Bajwa over this matter. During the meeting with the committee, Bajwa warned the committee members to adjust their directions; otherwise, they could face ten years in jail,” the statement read.

“They started exerting pressure on me in March 2022. When I returned from my visit to Russia, Qureshi informed me about cipher. I was shocked when I saw the cipher for the first time. It was written in the cipher that everything would become settled if the prime minister was ousted through a no-trust motion. Then US ambassador Asad Majeed suggested that cipher should be Démarched immediately,” he added.

“I approached the public because the cipher conspiracy was not an insult to just the prime minister but to 20.2 million people in the country. I decided to inform the public about cipher at the conclusion of the OIC conference that was held on March 22–23, 2022. Our allies suggested we leave the government. Our allies were brought to the US Embassy for meetings. Our minister from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Atif Khan, was invited to the US council in Peshawar, and he was directed to vote against then KP chief minister Mehmood Khan in the case of the no-trust motion,” he added.

Meanwhile, several meetings were held between me and Bajwa, in which I told him that the economy would collapse if the government toppled. I informed Bajwa that the upcoming government will fail to handle the political instability. I told Bajwa several times that ISI is engaged against my government, and I will approach the public if my government is toppled through a conspiracy,” he stated.

He said, “Bajwa lied to me and said that he wants my government intact. The paper I waved during a public rally was a paraphrased copy of the cipher. General (retired) Bajwa was the only power who toppled my government.”

“The reaction the public showed to my victimization was never seen before in the history of the country. A large number of people came out on the streets in my support. Cipher was declared a conspiracy by the National Security Committee, and it was decided to Démarched it. Everyone was afraid of the then-army chief, and no one had the courage to initiate an inquiry. A cipher case was established to shut my mouth. My party took a stand against the powerful army chief,” Khan added.

According to journalist Saqib Bashir, “After recording Khan’s statement, the court inquired from the PTI founder, Where is the cipher? Upon which, Khan responded that, as I have mentioned in my statement, I don’t know where about the cipher. It was in my office.”

According to the journalist, the judge remarked, “Look at me, Khan Sahb and Qureshi Sahb; I am sentencing you both for ten years each.”

After announcing the verdict, the judge stands up from his chair and leaves the court. Upon which, Qureshi said his statement has not been recorded yet.

In the most recent hearing, conducted on Saturday, the judge decided to appoint state counsel to defend the PTI leaders after the defense lawyers failed to appear in court again.

According to the court ruling, Malik Abdul Rehman and Hazrat Younus were assigned to represent Khan and Qureshi, respectively, as state defense lawyers and to cross-examine prosecution witnesses.

In November of last year, when Khan and Qureshi challenged their indictment in the case, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) pronounced their prison trial "null and void" while permitting their intra-court appeals.

However, the federal cabinet once again accepted the idea of convening the prison trial of both politicians, and the trial proceeded.

PTI Chairman Gohar Ali Khan Urges Party Workers To Remain Calm 

As soon as the verdict was announced, Khan's replacement as PTI chairman, Gohar Ali Khan, asked party workers and supporters to remain calm and not to take the law into their own hands over the judgment.

"An effort is being made to shift our focus away from the elections; everyone will be held accountable on February 8," Gohar told reporters at the Islamabad High Court.

Speaking about the matter, Gohar stated that cases against the PTI chairman are being pursued without regard for the Constitution and the law. He further claimed that the judge hearing the case was asking questions on his own.

He further indicated that they will challenge the ruling, stating that the party believes in the high and supreme courts.