Former Pakistan PM and his wife jailed for 14 years in corruption case

ISLAMABAD — Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have been sentenced to 14 years in prison, a day after the former Pakistan prime minister was jailed for 10 years.

Khan, who was ousted as PM by his opponents in 2022, is already serving a three-year jail term after being convicted of corruption.

On Tuesday he was sentenced for leaking state secrets, and on Wednesday given 14 years in another corruption case.

Khan has said the numerous cases against him are politically motivated.

It is the second conviction against him in as many days and the verdicts come a week before Pakistan’s elections.

Khan retains immense popularity across the country but has been barred from standing in the 8 February vote. His party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has also faced campaigning restrictions.

It’s not yet been confirmed but it’s believed that Khan will be able to serve the sentences concurrently.

The former premier and international cricket star has already been detained since last August when he was arrested, serving time mostly at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

His wife Bushra Bibi, who had been out on remand, also surrendered at the jail on Wednesday. She has typically kept a low profile during their period in office. The two married in 2018, months before Khan was elected prime minister.

Both had strongly denied the accusations brought against them by Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog. They were alleged to have sold or kept state gifts they had received while in office for personal profit. Such gifts included a jewellery set from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

They were convicted of the charges on Wednesday. Along with the 14-year prison terms, the court ordered them to pay a fine of about 1.5 billion rupees (£4.2m;$5.3m).

On Wednesday, Khan’s PTI party said that the sentencing further meant that the former PM will also be disqualified for 10 years from holding public office.

A spokesman for his party described the ruling as: “Another sad day in our judicial system history, which is being dismantled.”

The former premier had blasted the court’s decision on Tuesday — where a judge found him guilty of revealing a classified document and damaging diplomatic relations.

Khan and his PTI party had described that case and the others against him as bogus, arguing that the trials have occurred under duress in “kangaroo courts”, where proceedings have been rushed along.

Following Tuesday’s verdict, Khan told his followers to “take revenge for every injustice with your vote on February 8 while remaining peaceful” in a statement released on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

“Tell them that we are not sheep that can be driven with a stick,” he said.

Many are already questioning the credibility of next Thursday’s vote, given the extent to which Imran Khan — still one of Pakistan’s most popular politicians — and his party have been sidelined.

The authorities deny carrying out a crackdown on PTI, but many of its leaders are now behind bars or have defected. Its candidates are standing as independents and many are on the run.

Police also rounded up thousands of its supporters after protests — at times violent — last May when Imran Khan was first taken into custody.

The party has also been stripped of its cricket bat symbol, essential in a country with low literacy rates to allow voters to choose where to mark their ballots.

The man tipped to win is three-time former PM Nawaz Sharif, who returned from self-imposed exile in the autumn. He was a thorn in the side of the powerful military for much of his long career and was jailed for corruption ahead of the 2018 election that Imran Khan won.

Now many believe he is currently preferred by the Pakistan military establishment, while Khan- who used to be seen as close to the military — has fallen out of favor. — BBC


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