Imran Khan: Former Pakistani leader and wife get 14-year sentences for selling state gifts

Conviction comes a day after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party founder was found guilty of leaking classified information

Why are Imran Khan and his wife sentenced to 14 years in prison?

Why are Imran Khan and his wife sentenced to 14 years in prison?
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Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have been sentenced to 14 years in prison for allegedly selling state gifts, the latest of three convictions against the former PM.

The couple were also barred from holding public office for 10 years, in a hearing at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, where Khan is being held.

It comes a day after Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for allegedly leaking state secrets.

His legal team dismissed that case as a “sham” and vowed to appeal against both sentences.

Lawyer Shoaib Shaheen dismissed the case as "unlawful, injust and illegal," and said the judge barred cross-examination, claiming Khan was unable to choose his own legal representation in the case.

"No legal requirements were fulfilled and permission to present witnesses and the statements were not recorded properly,” he told The National.

The latest blow to the PTI later comes about a week before Pakistan's parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 8.

Supporters of the party, which has come under increasing government crackdowns over popular support for Khan, have vowed to support its candidates at the polls in revenge for Wednesday's verdict.

"No matter what happens, Khan will secure victory in the next election and we will take revenge for such verdicts by giving vote to his party,” PTI supporter Shehzad Afridi Nawaz Sharif told The National.

His legal team said Judge Mohammed Bashr seemed to be in a "hurry" to deliver a verdict.

"Whatever is happening is in a hurry. Legal essentials should be fulfilled, and judgments should not be hastily passed," Haroon Rashid, political analyst and managing editor of The Independent's Urdu language service told The National.

Khan who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022, was handed a three-year prison sentence last August by another court for selling gifts worth more than 140 million rupees ($501,000) during his four years in office.

That sentence was later suspended, but the suspension was overruled.

Khan briefly attended Wednesday's court session, while Ms Bibi was not present.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also accused of selling state gifts in what has been called the Toshakhana case.

“If the court punishes Imran Khan in Toshakhana cases, justice should also be served for Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Asif Ali Zardari, who have sold state gifts," said PTI information secretary Irfan Saleem, referring to accusations against Mr Sharif, his daughter, and his colleague in the Pakistani People's Party.

Khan claims the charges against him are politically motivated and fears for his life.

Khan was shot at an election rally in November 2022 in what he described as an “assassination attempt” orchestrated by the government.

“Unfortunately, when I was in power for three and a half years, I just could not bring the powerful under the law. And they were the ones who then schemed with the army chief and conspired to remove my government,” he told The National in July.

His arrest and court cases have triggered violent protests across Pakistan.

One person was killed in May as demonstrations erupted following his arrest in Lahore by an anti-corruption agency.

His party later called on supporters to “shut down Pakistan”.

Updated: January 31, 2024, 11:13 AM