FORMER Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was on Wednesday (30) remanded in jail over a leaked documents case, extending his detention despite the suspension of his prison term for graft a day earlier.
Khan has been tangled in a slew of legal cases he says are politically motivated since being ousted from power last year.
“Imran Khan’s judicial remand in the Cipher case has been extended for 14 days,” Khan’s lawyer Salman Safdar said after the hearing.
On Tuesday (29), another court suspended Khan’s three-year prison term for graft handed down early in August – a judgment that kept him from contesting upcoming elections.
But authorities kept him in custody at Attock prison, around 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Islamabad, after arresting him over a case alleging he had leaked classified state documents.
“This constitutes a manipulation of justice,” Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen, another of Khan’s lawyers, said on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s hearing was held under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, with only lawyers present.
The case relates to a cable that Khan had touted as proof that he was ousted as part of a US conspiracy backed by the establishment, according to a report by the government’s Federal Investigation Agency.
The US and the Pakistan military have denied the claim.
The vice chairman of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a former foreign minister, has also been arrested over the same case.
More than 200 cases
Khan’s three-year sentence was handed down this month by a judge who found him guilty of failing to properly declare gifts he received while in office.
The election commission subsequently banned him for five years from contesting elections.
The court on Tuesday said the sentence was short enough to be set aside, after Khan’s team argued there were “serious jurisdictional defects” in the conviction made in “undue haste” without allowing them to present witnesses.
An appeal against the conviction is pending.
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, but since then PTI has been targeted by a major crackdown that has vastly diminished his street power and seen most of his senior leadership jump ship or be locked away.
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.