Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and wife jailed for 14 years on corruption charges From Reuters

©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, gestures as he speaks to members of the media at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan, May 18, 2023. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/File Photo

By Asif Shahzad and Ariba Shahid

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -A Pakistani anti-corruption court has jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Khan for 14 years each on charges of illegally selling state gifts, his party and lawyers said on Wednesday, just over a week before the national elections. .

The verdict, which marks the third conviction against the embattled former cricket star in recent months, also includes a 10-year ban from holding public office, his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said. .

Bushra Khan, commonly known as Bushra Bibi, surrendered herself to arrest soon after the verdict, PTI added.

The 14-year prison sentence is harsher than the 10-year sentence given to Khan on Tuesday on charges of revealing state secrets, and comes as Pakistan prepares for elections on February 8. run at the same time.

“Another sad day in the history of our justice system, which is being dismantled,” Khan’s media team said, repeating his denial of the allegations.

“There is no cross-examination allowed, no final arguments concluded and the decision emerges as a predetermined process at play… this ridiculous decision will also be challenged.”

Khan’s lawyer, Intezar Panjutha, told Reuters: “It’s a bogus verdict.”

Khan and his wife were accused of illegally selling gifts, worth more than 140 million rupees ($501,000) and received during his 2018-2022 premiership, from a state treasury known locally as “Toshakhana”.

Government officials said Khan’s aides sold the gifts in Dubai.

A list of such gifts shared by a former information minister included perfume, diamond jewellery, tableware and seven watches, six of them Rolex – the most expensive of which is a “limited edition Master Graff” worth 85 million rupees ($304,000).

Khan was also sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in August for the same charge by another court, but the sentence was suspended on appeal.


Wednesday’s verdict follows an investigation by the country’s top anti-corruption body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Bushra’s conviction was an attempt to put further pressure on Khan, acting president and PTI lawyer Gohar Ali Khan said in a television interview. “Bushra Bibi has no connection to this case,” he said.

Although Khan was found guilty in the other two cases, this is the first conviction for his wife. The two married in 2018, months before Khan ascended to the prime ministership for the first time. It was Khan’s third marriage after two divorces.

A member of the prosecutor’s office, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed the verdict. A detailed verdict will be released soon, he said. Local broadcaster Geo News reported that the verdict also included a hefty fine.

Khan’s previous conviction for selling state gifts led to a five-year ban from holding public office, barring the 71-year-old from the February 8 election. Wednesday’s verdict, however, means he will not be eligible to hold the office until he is 81.

Its rival parties – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of the late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto – welcomed the ruling.

Bhutto’s son, Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari, who now leads the PPP and is an aspiring prime minister, called Khan’s beliefs “karma” at a public rally on Wednesday.

Khan’s political opponents and some human rights activists have accused him of using the same anti-corruption body when he was in power to throw opponents into prison and fire critical journalists, a charge his PTI party denies .

Even Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, considered his political heir, said the verdict was “nothing but karma.”


Following the verdict against Khan and his wife, police were deployed outside his party offices in Islamabad and Lahore.

Khan has fought dozens of cases since he was ousted from power in a parliamentary vote of no confidence in 2022. He says his ouster was supported by the powerful military he feuded with when he was in office.

He and his party say that since his ouster they have faced a military-backed crackdown, including the arrests of hundreds of supporters, party members and key aides.

The army, which has exerted influence over Pakistan’s politics for decades, denies the charges.

The NAB, the anti-corruption agency that prosecuted Khan, has repeatedly investigated, tried and jailed all sitting prime ministers since 2008, including Khan’s main political rival, Nawaz Sharif, whose party is considered the favorite in the elections next week.

Violence increased even before the polls.

A national assembly candidate who claimed to be supported by Khan’s party was shot dead on Wednesday in a tribal district along the Afghan border, police said.

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