Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan was acquitted on appeal Monday of treason charges for disclosing classified documents, although he remains imprisoned in connection with other cases.

The decision was taken by the Islamabad High Court, noted an AFP journalist present in the court room.

Salman Safdar, a lawyer for Mr. Khan's party – the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – confirmed the information to AFP.

He pointed out that “this is the first major case as part of the political persecution against Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi (his former foreign minister and PTI number two) to be brought to naught.”

At first instance, Imran Khan, 71, was sentenced along with Mr. Qureshi on January 30 to 10 years in prison for disclosure of classified documents.

At the heart of the affair was a diplomatic cable sent in 2022 by Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, which Imran Khan presented as evidence of a US plot against him and supported by the Pakistani military. The United States and the Pakistani military have denied the claim.

The following week he was sentenced to two other sentences for corruption (14 years) and illegal marriage (seven years).

These convictions occurred shortly before the legislative elections of February 8 in which he was unable to run because he had been imprisoned since August and was ineligible.

The execution of the sentence for his corruption conviction, which related to gifts received between 2018 and 2022, when he was in power, was suspended in early April by an Islamabad court but the sentence itself remains in force.

Mr Khan blames the army for his legal troubles, which he believes were intended to prevent his return to power.

Imran Khan, a former star cricketer who came to power in 2018, was ousted by a no-confidence motion in April 2022, after losing the support of the all-powerful military, analysts say. He was arrested in May 2023 and faced multiple legal proceedings.

His supporters emerged victorious from the legislative elections but with an insufficient lead to form the government. They left the field open to a coalition led by the new Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, who would have benefited from the support of the army.

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