Pakistan court sentences former PM Imran Khan and wife to 14 years in prison News
Public Domain / Voice of America
Pakistan court sentences former PM Imran Khan and wife to 14 years in prison

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday for corruption during Khan’s tenure as prime minister. Khan was sentenced to ten years in prison the day before over revealing state secrets.

The couple was investigated by the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency, over illegally selling state gifts. The court also fined each of them 787 million rupees and prohibited Khan from holding public office for ten years.

This is Khan’s third conviction since he was ousted from the government in a non-confidence vote in April 2022. He was sentenced to three years in prison for unlawfully selling state gifts in August 2023. The Islamabad High Court afterwards suspended this sentence on August 29, 2023.

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), rejected the court’s decision in sentencing Khan to ten years in prison. It wrote on X (formerly Twitter):

All the cases, trials, and convictions have nothing to do with law or justice but are part of dirty back door deals decimating Pakistan’s democracy and justice system.

Khan described the trial as “a fixed match, predetermined by the characters and planners of the London Plan and their associates.” Khan’s lawyer suggested that his trial was conducted illegally and questioned the trial process that was conducted in prison. Pakistan’s former federal law minister Babar Awan also condemned the trial. He claimed that the trial is another dark day for justice and said that “No lawyer, no argument, and no evidence” were involved in the trial.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed concerns over the rejection of PTI candidates’ nomination papers. It pointed out that this “gives credence to apprehensions that the electoral process is being engineered” and reminded the incumbent caretaker government to ensure fair and credible elections.

The International Human Rights Foundation (IHRF) also criticized the trial proceedings against Khan. The IHRF wrote on X (formerly Twitter):

Our findings reveal a disturbing disregard for the basic principles of justice and due process. We note with deep concern the lack of basic procedural safeguards in their trials … The lack of transparency and impartiality in the conduct of these trials casts a long shadow over the rule of law and the administration of justice in [Pakistan] … [The IHRF] unequivocally calls for the immediate quashing of the trial proceedings against Mr Imran Khan.

PTI’s Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan condemned Wednesday’s decision in stating that it is a travesty of justice. He stated that PTI will appeal against this verdict and aim to ensure that the supremacy of law prevails.