Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan’s custody extended by two weeks in ‘cypher’ case

Khan’s judicial custody extended till September 13 to investigate him on charges of leaking state secrets, his lawyer says.

Imran Khan
Khan is charged with making public the contents of a confidential cable sent by Pakistan's ambassador to the US [File: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been sent to judicial remand for two weeks on charges of leaking state secrets, his lawyer says.

Khan’s custody was extended till September 13 to investigate him in the so-called “cypher” case after a special court held the proceedings on the jail premises in Attock city on Wednesday.

Khan’s judicial remand comes a day after the Islamabad High Court suspended his conviction and three-year jail sentence on corruption charges.

The former prime minister is charged with making public the contents of a confidential cable sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States and using it for political gain.

“We have filed a bail petition in the court and it will be heard on Saturday,” Khan’s lawyer Salman Safdar told Al Jazeera after the court heard the “cypher” case under the country’s Official Secrets Act.

“We have also filed another appeal challenging the jail trial and have demanded that the case be heard in an open court and not in camera,” he said.

What is the ‘cypher’ case?

The “cypher” case relates to a diplomatic cable that Khan had touted as proof that he was removed in April last year as part of a US conspiracy backed by the “establishment” – a euphemism for Pakistan’s powerful military.

Khan alleges the cable proves his removal was at the behest of the US which he said pressed Pakistan’s army to topple his government because he had visited Russia shortly before its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The US and the Pakistani government and military have rejected the allegation.

The vice chairman of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, also a former foreign minister, has also been arrested in the same case.

While Khan was imprisoned this month, Pakistan’s parliament was dissolved at the request of his successor Shehbaz Sharif and a caretaker government was formed to hold national elections.

But no date for the polls has been announced as the country’s election commission redraws constituencies based on the latest census.

A former international cricketer and Pakistan’s most popular politician, Khan has been embroiled in more than 100 cases that he argues are designed to keep him from winning the upcoming elections.

After Khan’s conviction and imprisonment for corruption, the election commission banned him for five years from contesting elections.

Al Jazeera correspondent Abid Hussain contributed to this report from Islamabad.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies