South Asia

Pakistan court extends Imran Khan’s custody in ‘cipher’ case

A court in Islamabad extended the jail term of former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for two weeks, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Khan’s judicial custody relates to charges of leaking state secrets. According to his lawyer, Khan’s remand has been extended to September 26.

“Imran Khan’s remand has been extended till September 26,” the 70-year-old opposition leader’s lawyer, Naeem Haider Panjutha, said after the special court hearing at the highly fortified Attock Jail on Wednesday.

Khan was detained in early August.

Khan, along with Qureshi, is charged with making public contents of a confidential cable, commonly referred to as “cipher”, sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States and using it for political gain, according to a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) document.

Khan alleges that the cable proves the US had pressed Pakistan’s military to orchestrate the fall of his government in April 2022 because he had visited Russia shortly before its invasion of Ukraine in February that year.

Washington and the Pakistani military have denied Khan’s accusations.

“I can say it confidently that I have been and I am and I will be loyal to this country at every condition. If I commit disloyalty to this country, I should be hung,” Qureshi said.

Imran Khan claimed that the letter warned that if he remained in power, Washington would take serious action against Pakistan.

But the Biden administration has repeatedly denied Khan’s claim.

Both Khan and Qureshi are accused of leaking the secret letter to the public.

Khan was ousted from power in April 2022. There are a total of 180 cases against Khan.