In Islamabad, the detailed judgment on the cypher case was issued by a special court, asserting that former Prime Minister Imran Khan and then Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had compromised Pakistan’s cypher communications system, significantly impacting the nation’s international standing and diplomatic reporting culture.
Authored by Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain, the verdict held both accused individuals guilty under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Imran received a 10-year rigorous imprisonment sentence under OSA, along with fines, while Qureshi faced additional charges.
The court emphasized tangible evidence, including cypher messages and witness statements, supporting the adverse consequences of their actions on Pakistan’s economy and national security.
The judgment highlighted Imran’s deliberate actions, such as the unauthorized retention of cypher and negligent handling of telegrams, as well as his public disclosure of confidential information initiated by Qureshi.
It underscored the heavy responsibility on the prime minister to handle confidential information responsibly and noted the accused’s violation of his oath.
The court criticized their conduct during the proceedings, characterizing it as attempts to prolong the trial through legal maneuvers, refusal to engage in cross-examination, and overall evasive behavior, which was deemed unethical and detrimental to the legal process.
The court’s conclusion found both former premier Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi guilty of serious offenses, emphasizing the need for responsible handling of confidential information by high-ranking officials.
The verdict condemned the accused’s conduct during legal proceedings. Subsequently, the court sentenced both individuals to 10 years imprisonment.
PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan criticized the verdict, expressing hope in the party’s future course of action, stating their intention to move the high court against the sentence and relying on the power of votes. He urged PTI supporters to remain calm and focused on upcoming elections.