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Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan and wife Bushra Bibi sentenced to 14 years in jail in state gifts case

Khan handed third jail term eight days before elections

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 31 January 2024 06:27 GMT
FILE: Imran Khan arrested outside Islamabad High Court

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have been sentenced to 14 years in jail in a case linked to the illegal selling of state gifts.

This is the second prison sentence in two days to the jailed leader ahead of closely-watched general elections next week.

Mr Khan and his wife were facing allegations of keeping and selling state gifts during the time when the former prime minister held office.

A court on Wednesday also barred Mr Khan from holding public office for 10 years and fined PKR787m each ( £22,19,530).

Ms Bibi did not appear before the court as the hearing was held in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail where Mr Khan is jailed.

Mr Khan briefly attended the court hearing when the judge announced the verdict.

His legal team said that Ms Bibi would surrender before the jail and said they will challenge the conviction in a higher court.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (C) with his wife Bushra Bibi (L) arrive to appear at a high court in Lahore in May 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan said Mr Khan was convicted and sentenced “in such a hurry” that the judge did not wait for his legal team to arrive.

He said Mr Khan’s basic human and fundamental rights had been violated and that the latest conviction and sentencing would be challenged in higher courts.

During the hearing, Mr Khan asked the court “why are you in a hurry” after the judges asked him to submit his statement without wasting the court’s time, according to the Dawn newspaper.

“Even yesterday, the conviction was announced in haste,” Mr Khan said referring to the sentencing on Tuesday.

Police personnel stand outside the entrance of Adiala Jail during the hearing of jailed former Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Rawalpindi (EPA)

It comes a day after Mr Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets.

Pakistan is set to go for general elections on 8 February from which Mr Khan is barred and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who returned from self-imposed exile, is widely expected to win.

It comes three weeks after Mr Khan and his wife were indicted on corruption charges for retaining state gifts, including jewellery and watches from Saudi Arabia’s government, authorities said.

He and Ms Bibi entered not guilty pleas when the charges were presented at a court located in the prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

Mr Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party criticised the latest sentencing as the “mockery of law” in a kangaroo trial.

“Complete destruction of every existing law in Pakistan in 2 days. Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi have faced yet another kangaroo trial in which no right to defence was given to both. Like cipher, this case has no basis to stand in any Higher court. It’s shameful how a complete disregard and mockery of law is in place,” PTI said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

After his ouster with a no-confidence vote in April 2022, Mr Khan has been hit with more than 170 criminal cases, with charges ranging from contempt of court to terrorism and inciting violence.

The cricket-star-turned-politician who has been in jail since August 2023 has denied the charges as politically motivated.

Since then, his party has faced significant obstacles leading up to the 8 February vote, including being barred from holding public gatherings, having its party symbol forcibly changed and seeing key candidates and officials either disqualified or jailed.

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