ISLAMABAD: In a major relief to the embattled Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday annulled jailed founder Imran Khan and party’s Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s conviction in the infamous cipher case containing charges of misusing and misplacing the classified diplomatic document. IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the short verdict on pleas challenging the conviction in the cipher case after reserving it earlier today.  The PTI founder and party’s vice-chairman were sentenced to 10 years each in prison in the cipher case in January this year. The case pertains to allegations that the former prime minister had made public contents of a secret cable sent by the country’s ambassador in Washington to the government in Islamabad. The latest relief for the PTI founder came days after IHC approved his bail petition in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) settlement reference on May 15. A two-member bench, comprising the IHC chief justice, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, had approved the PTI’s founder bail plea in the reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Khan, the deposed premier who was ousted from power via the opposition’s no-confidence motion in April 2022, has been facing a slew of charges ranging from corruption to terrorism since his removal as the premier. He has been behind bars since August last year after he was sentenced in the Toshakhana case and subsequently convicted in other cases as well including cipher and illegal marriage cases. Due to his conviction in other cases, the ousted premier remains behind bars despite securing relief in several cases. Despite securing relief in the cipher case, Khan and Qureshi are unlikely to be released from prison as both are incarcerated in iddat and May 9 cases, respectively.



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