Police arrested Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday, his lawyer said, after a court sentenced him to three years in prison for illegally selling state gifts.
“Judge Humayun Dilawar announced that involvement in corrupt practices has been proven,” Pakistan TV reported.
Legal analysts said a convictioncould end Khan's chances of participating in national elections that have to be held by early November.
Khan's political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said they had filed an appeal in the country's Supreme Court over the district court's case.
Local media and a Reuters witness said police surrounded Mr Khan's home in Lahore after the verdict was released.
It relates to an inquiry by the election commission, which found Khan guilty of unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.
Khan, 70, has denied any wrongdoing.
The politician was accused of misusing his premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than 140 million Pakistani rupees ($635,000).
In May, Khan was arrested and briefly detained in Islamabad, sparking deadly unrest during which supporters of his party poured on to the streets and clashed with police.
In the aftermath of his release from three days in custody, PTI was targeted by a crackdown with thousands of arrests, reports of intimidation and muzzling of the press.
Khan's legal team said that they would be filing an immediate appeal to his sentencing.
“It's important to mention there was no chance given to present witnesses, neither was time allotted to round up arguments,” a member of the team said.
Khan had long warned he would be arrested to prevent him participating in the elections.
Parliament is likely to be dissolved after it completes its term in the next two weeks, with national elections to be held in or before mid-November.
Khan rose to power in 2018 on a wave of popular support, an anti-corruption manifesto, and the backing of the powerful military establishment.
When he was ousted in April last year, analysts said it was because he had lost the support of the top generals.
In his campaign for re-election, Khan has highlighted the power the elite hold behind the scenes – a subject historically considered a red line in Pakistan.
The case, filed by ruling party lawmakers, is based on a criminal complaint filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
It alleged that Khan had “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana – a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept – during his time as prime minister, as well as proceeds from their sale.
Toshakhana rules state that such gifts should be reported to the Cabinet Division.
Khan has faced a number of legal issues over retention of gifts which also led to his disqualification by the election commission.
On October 21, 2022, the commission concluded that the former premier had made “false statements and incorrect declarations” about the gifts.