A court in Pakistan suspends former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s conviction on corruption charges and orders his release on bail.

Khan was handed a three-year sentence on August 5 for not declaring assets he made from selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

Sharif criticises court decision

Former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to criticise the Islamabad High Court ruling, saying everyone was expecting it.

He said if “thieves and state terrorists are facilitated, then from where [will] the common man get justice in the country?”

Suspension does not mean conviction overturned: Lawyer

Khan’s suspension in the misdeclaration of assets case does not mean his conviction has been overturned, which is pending a detailed hearing in the court, according to constitutional lawyer Abdul Moiz Jaferii.

“(Khan) being left at liberty is now hindered by him being required by the police and relevant investigation agencies in the multitude of other cases instituted against him,” Jaferii said, according to Reuters news agency.

He said Khan would need to seek bail from the other courts hearing those cases.

Did US ask for Imran Khan’s removal as Pakistan PM after he visited Russia?

United States-based news outlet The Intercept earlier this month published what it claims to be the details of a diplomatic “cypher” – or a secret cable – that suggests the US administration wanted to remove former Pakistani Prime Minister Khan from power last year.

Khan was sacked from power in April 2022 after he lost a no-confidence vote in parliament. He alleged he knew of the “cypher” while he was in office which, according to him, proved the US hatched a conspiracy with the help of his political opponents and the Pakistani military to remove him.

The Intercept published purported details of a conversation between Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, and Donald Lu, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, on March 7 last year.

In the meeting, Lu reportedly told Majeed the US and Europe were “quite concerned” about Khan visiting Russia and Pakistan taking an “aggressively neutral position” on the Ukraine war.

The conversation, according to the report, took place less than two weeks after Khan visited Moscow on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

Bukhari slams Khan’s detention under Official Secrets Act

The Official Secrets Act, under which Khan is being convicted in the missing cypher case, has “no legal standing” according to the PTI chairman’s aide Zulfi Bukhari.?

“It is absurd that the Official Secrets Act is being forced without any legal standing whatsoever,” Bukhari wrote in a post on X.

Khan to appear in court over missing diplomatic cable tomorrow

Khan is set to appear in a special court, recently established under the Official Secrets Act, for a hearing in the cypher case.

Earlier today, the court issued an order to keep Khan in detention and directed authorities to present him on Wednesday.

A copy of the order says that the former prime minister has been named in the case of a missing diplomatic cable and is under investigation.