Cipher case: Imran Khan will take legal action against senior State Dept official in US, says sister

Islamabad: Imran Khan will register a case in the US against State Department official Donald Lu if the jailed former prime minister doesn’t get justice from Pakistani courts, his sister Aleema Khan has said.

Khan, the 71-year-old chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is currently detained in Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on judicial remand in the cipher case.

The purported cipher (secret diplomatic cable) contained an account of a meeting between US State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South & Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Pakistani envoy Asad Majeed Khan last year.

Khan, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from August 2018 to April 2022, is accused of misusing the contents of the cipher to build a narrative that his government was ousted due to a conspiracy hatched by the US, a charge repeatedly denied by Washington.

The PTI chief’s sister made the comment in a press conference after meeting him in the Adiala Jail, Geo News reported on Friday.

“Chairman PTI said if he does not get justice from Pakistani courts, then they would file a case against Donald Lu in US courts,” Aleema was quoted as saying in the report.

She added that the party believes that the US embassy in Pakistan was involved in the conspiracy to topple Khan’s government.

On Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a stay order against Khan in the case, seeking information about the “circumstances” that prompted the trial to be conducted in a high-security Rawalpindi prison.

Aleema said that the IHC issued a stay order, and those clauses were added in the case that can lead to a death sentence or life imprisonment.

“We should be told what crime was committed by the PTI chairman that such clauses were added. Rana Sanaullah (Pakistan’s former federal minister for interior) registered a case against the PTI chairman [we] should get justice in Pakistan,” she said.

Asserting that Khan was in good health and had developed a good routine during his incarceration, Aleema said that she did not receive any complaints from the PTI chief regarding his food, according to the report.

Khan’s close aide and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also arrested in the cipher case and is imprisoned in the Adiala jail.

Both Khan and Qureshi have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Pakistan’s caretaker government has approved the jail trial of the duo in the cipher case based on an alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act while dealing with a secret diplomatic cable by the Pakistan embassy in Washington in March 2022.

They were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency in the case in August.

Khan was ousted through a vote of no-confidence in April 2022. More than 150 cases have been registered against him since his ouster from power.

Press Trust of India (PTI) is India’s premier news agency, having a reach as vast as the Indian Railways. It employs more than 400 journalists and 500 stringers to cover almost every district and small town in India.

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