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Pakistani court extends stay against former premier’s jail trial

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published November 21,2023
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, gestures as he speaks to the members of the media at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan May 18, 2023. (REUTERS File Photo)

A court in Pakistan decided Monday to extend a stay against the jail trial of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case that accuses him of exposing state secrets.

A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) extended the stay it gave earlier last week for one day before adjourning the hearing until Tuesday, according to a court record.

The IHC's move comes after the caretaker Cabinet approved Khan's jail trial in the "cipher case," in which he is already being tried from a jail in the northeastern garrison city of Rawalpindi as well as in another two cases.

The cipher case is related to diplomatic communications between Washington and Islamabad, which Khan says was part of a U.S. conspiracy to topple his government.

Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi were indicted in the cipher case last month. The two pleaded not guilty.

Khan, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from 2018-2022, lost a vote of confidence in parliament in April 2022, one year short of completing his term.

In August this year, he was sentenced by a trial court in Islamabad for concealing details and unlawfully selling state gifts he received as prime minister and consequently was barred from holding public office for five years by the country's Election Commission.

The IHC, however, suspended his sentence and ordered his release weeks later.