Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been sentenced to 10 years, each, in the cipher case on Tuesday.
The decision was announced verbally by special court judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain today at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi in the presence of both the PTI leaders.
The special court has been established under the Official Secrets Act 2023. Judge Zulqarnain has been holding hearings of the case in Adiala Jail since it started last year.
Both politicians had pleaded not guilty to their involvement in the offence related to the alleged misuse of diplomatic cable for political purposes.
Before announcing the verdict, Judge Zulqarnain, during the hearing, reminded the PTI leaders that their lawyers were not appearing in court and were given state lawyers.
The court also observed that Qureshi and Imran were given the questions under 342. However, Qureshi said that his lawyers are not present so how can they record their statement.
The verdict comes a day after the hearing was adjourned as the proceedings were disrupted, as Imran and Qureshi lost their temper and started shouting.
Imran, Qureshi get state lawyers
In the last hearing, which was held on Saturday, the judge had decided to appoint state counsel to represent the PTI leaders, as the defence lawyers again failed to appear before the court.
According to the court decision, Malik Abdul Rehman and Hazrat Younus were asked to represent the PTI founding chairman and Qureshi, respectively as the state defence counsel and cross-examine the prosecution witnesses.
In Noevember of last year, after Khan and Qureshi challenged their indictment in the case, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared their jail trial “null and void” while allowing their intra-court appeals in the case.
However, the federal cabinet yet again approved the summary of holding the jail trial of both politicians following which the trial continued.