Imran Khan Acquitted in Pakistan’s Secrets Act Case

(Bloomberg) -- A Pakistani court suspended a ten year jail sentence given to former prime minister Imran Khan for violating the nation’s secrecy laws but he is not going to be released.

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The former cricket star’s conviction was set aside by the court on Monday, said Sayed Zulfi Bukhari, a spokesperson for Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. A special court handed down the sentence in January for making a diplomatic cable public when he was in power.

Khan was ousted from power as prime minister in a no-confidence vote in April 2022 after his relationship with the powerful military turned sour. Khan still has more than 170 legal cases —- all of which he says are politically motivated and designed to prevent him from staging a come back. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the military have denied Khan’s allegations.

He has been in jail since August after the courts found him guilty of graft and violating Pakistan’s secrecy laws. Days before national elections in February, the firebrand politician was convicted thrice. An announcement was expected in another case last week that has been postponed.

While the convictions and the dozens of cases effectively kept Khan out of the election race, his party-backed candidates won the most parliamentary seats after a vote marred by allegations of rigging. However they were unable to form a government as Khan’s political rivals formed an alliance.

In the secrecy case, the politician had accused the US, his political rivals led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and the military for conspiring to remove him from power — allegations all three have denied. In the days leading to the no-confidence vote against him, Khan made public a classified cable sent by Pakistan’s former ambassador in Washington. His former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also been acquitted in the case, said Bukhari.

(Updates with details throughout)

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