Cypher case

A joke: Celebrities express their verdict against Imran Khan in the Cypher case

A Pakistani court sentenced Khan and his aide, former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, to 10 years in prison in a case related to “breaching state secrets.” A special court set up in a prison in Rawalpindi announced the sentence on Tuesday in the ‘Cypher case’, which involved a diplomatic cable in which Khan alleged his removal from power in 2022 was a conspiracy.

The court, established under the Official Secrets Act, found Khan guilty of misusing the confidential cable of a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States. Khan has repeatedly denied the accusation, saying the document contained evidence that his dismissal as prime minister was a conspiracy hatched by his political opponents and the powerful military with the help of the US government. Washington and the Pakistani military reject this accusation.

Imran Khan served as prime minister of Pakistan from August 2018 to April 2022, when he lost a vote of confidence in parliament. He has been in prison since August of last year and is on trial in several cases.

The conviction of the country’s main opposition leader comes a week before parliamentary elections. Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, the spokesperson for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, told Al Jazeera that the PTI would challenge the court’s decision. He said the trial was conducted in an “illegal manner.” “Our lawyers were not authorized to represent Imran Khan. They were not even allowed to cross-examine witnesses. “What happened in court was just a farce and deception,” Bukhari said.

The verdict follows a large-scale crackdown on the PTI, in which dozens of leaders left the party and thousands of members and supporters were jailed. Recently, the party also lost its electoral symbol, the cricket bat, and was forced to nominate its candidates as independents. But Bukhari said the verdict against Khan and Qureshi would only be in favor of the beleaguered party.

PTI supporters and several celebrities have been condemning the verdict since yesterday while encouraging their fans and supporters to vote for PTI on February 8. Rap star Talha Anjum on Tuesday attacked all of Khan’s political opponents on X. “Vote for” Ban Imran and everyone else. Long live Pakistan,” he tweeted in Punjabi; the translation was toned down to meet editorial standards.

Singer Hasan Raheem also shared, “Aur meri jaan kay totay vote zarur daalna (And my love, you must vote).”

Actress Armena Khan announced the report on Imran’s verdict and wrote on X, “This is absurd! Pakistan’s legal system was and is a joke. “Actress Ushna Shah similarly tweeted, “Ten years for what!? “Is this a joke?”

Guitarist Salman Ahmad also criticized the judge who handed down the verdict: “Judges like Hasnat [Zulqarnain] and [Humayun] Dilawar have dedicated their entire lives to destabilizing the justice system. Who would want to become a judge in Pakistan when the rule of law index falls below the lowest in the world?

In another tweet, he said: “Pakistan’s army chief does not represent the interests of 240 million Pakistanis. » The court headed by the army chief today sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister SMQ to 10 years in prison in a trumped-up trial. case. The only way out for Pakistan is maximum voter turnout in the February 8 elections.”

Actor Adnan Malik further asked, “It’s just history repeating itself. When will Pakistan stop waging war? #CypherCase”