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Pakistan’s former PM Imran Khan and his wife sentenced to 14 years in jail

The court ruling, which Khan denounced as politically motivated, convicts the couple of illegally selling state gifts
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan with his wife Bushra Bibi arrive to appear at a high court in Lahore on 15 May 2023, before they were sentenced on 31 January 2024 to 14 years in jail (AFP)
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, arrive at a high court in Lahore on 15 May 2023 (AFP)

The former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, have been sentenced to 14 years in jail after being found guilty of corruption.

The couple were also fined 787 million rupees ($2.8m) each.

In a case known as “Toshakhana”, Khan and Bibi were convicted of selling state gifts for an undeclared profit while in office.

According to Pakistan’s anti-graft watchdog the couple received 108 gifts, with some worth millions of rupees. The watchdog alleged that many of these gifts had been sold illegally or kept by Khan and Bibi while Khan was prime minister, from 2018 until 2022.

The legal proceedings followed investigations that uncovered evidence of the couple receiving jewellery from the Saudi crown prince, which they kept illegally.

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The couple are now banned from taking any role in public office for 10 years.

This is the second jail sentence issued against Khan in two days. On Tuesday, the former international cricket star was given a 10-year prison sentence on charges revolving around leaking sensitive state diplomatic documents, which are thought to have been lost while in his possession.

It is unclear whether the two sentences will run simultaneously.

Khan, who was ousted in 2022, has been behind bars since August, serving three years of a prison sentence, mostly at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi. That sentence arose from a hundred different charges, which Khan describes as politically motivated.

Since he was toppled in a vote of no confidence, Khan has been a harsh critic of Pakistan’s military leadership, which he accuses of bearing grudges against him and orchestrating corruption cases against him so that he can't run in the upcoming elections.

'Kangaroo court'

According to Khan’s lawyers, an appeal against the two verdicts will be issued to Pakistan’s High Court.

In a video posted on Khan’s X account, his lawyer said they were not given the right to cross examine the legal documents or defend their client. A caption on the video described the trial as a “sham cypher case trial by a Kangaroo court" where proceedings are rushed and conducted inside a prison.

Khan’s political party Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said the case showed "another sad day in our judicial system history". 

"No cross-questioning allowed, no final argument concluded and decision pops up like a pre-determined process in play".

Both convictions were issued at a time deemed significant in Pakistan, which is due to go to the polls for a long-delayed general election. Despite being barred from running in elections, Khan still enjoys huge popularity among voters.

The sentence also comes as a huge blow to his supporters, who took to the streets last year in protest against his imprisonment, calling for his release.

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