ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court on Wednesday extended the jail custody of former prime minister Imran Khan for 14 days to investigate him on charges of leaking state secrets, his lawyer said.
“Imran Khan’s judicial remand in the Cipher case has been extended for 14 days,” Khan’s lawyer Salman Safdar told AFP after the hearing.
Wednesday’s hearing was held under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, with only lawyers present.
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Another lawyer Naeem Panjutha said the special court held the proceedings at Attock Jail, where Khan began a three-year prison sentence on August 5 for corruption after being found guilty of unlawfully selling state gifts.
A court suspended that sentence on Tuesday and said Khan could be released on bail, but he was barred from leaving as he was still under remand in the official secrets case.
Multiple cases have been lodged against the 70-year-old former national cricket captain since he lost the premiership in a parliamentary confidence vote in April last year.
Khan denies any wrongdoing, and says the accusations against him are politically motivated.
While the sentence in the graft case has been suspended, the conviction still stands, giving the Election Commission no reason to remove the five-year ban on Khan contesting elections.
Khan has been charged under the Official Secrets Act for making public the contents of a confidential letter sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States and using it for political gains, according to a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) case report seen by Reuters.
The document, dubbed Cipher, has not been made public by the government.
His top aide, former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has already been arrested and questioned in the case.
Khan alleges that the cable proves his removal was at the behest of the United States.
A former international cricket star, and Pakistan’s most popular politician, Khan has been embroiled in more than 200 cases that he argues are designed to keep him from winning upcoming elections.
Khan was also briefly detained on graft charges in May, sparking days of civil unrest. While Khan was imprisoned this month, Pakistan’s parliament was dissolved at the request of his successor Shehbaz Sharif to pave the way for a caretaker government that will usher in elections.
No date for the polls has been announced.