Imran Khan may face 14 years in jail in Cipher Gate case: Law Minister

Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar addressing a press conference in Islamabad on July 20, 2023.  - PTVNews/Screengrab
Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar addressing a press conference in Islamabad on July 20, 2023. – PTVNews/Screengrab
  • “There is a provision of 2 years imprisonment for negligence in handling secret document.”
  • The law minister says the former prime minister took away the cipher and never returned.
  • Azam Tarar says that FIA probing the case has sent summons to Imran Khan on 25th.

Referring to former Principal Secretary Azam Khan’s confessional statement against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar on Thursday said using classified documents for vested interests can attract a jail term of up to 14 years for an accused.

A day earlier, the former principal secretary, who had been “missing” since last month, recorded his statement before a magistrate under CrPC 164, claiming that the former prime minister had used a diplomatic cipher to fabricate a false narrative against the establishment and the opposition.

In his confession, Azam claimed that when he shared the cipher with Imran, the former prime minister was “enthusiastic” and termed the language as an “American blunder”.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad today, the Law Minister said that showing “criminal negligence” in handling confidential documents could lead to a jail term of up to two years for an officer.

However, the Law Minister said that if the cipher is made public and its contents are leaked for vested interests, the accused could face up to 14 years in prison.

“Sharing or making public a classified document for a vested interest or if it is prejudicial to the national interest than any category [sentence] 14 years,” he said.

Imran, who was ousted by a parliamentary vote in April last year, alleged on March 27, 2022, that Washington planned to remove him from office – and showed a cipher sent by Pakistan’s envoy to Washington at a public rally to support his claims.

The US has repeatedly denied such allegations and described them as “blatantly false”.

In the press conference today, the Law Minister claimed that the former PM had taken the cipher with him and never returned.

He said the federal government had referred the cipher scam to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), but the PTI chief had secured a court stay on it.

Tarar said the FIA ​​has now summoned PTI leaders, including Imran, to join the investigation on July 25 and added that the federal agency will decide whether to convert the ongoing probe into a criminal probe.

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