Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption

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Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption
Imran Khan, Pakistan's former prime minister, during an interview in Lahore, Pakistan, on Friday June 2, 2023. Photographer: Betsy Joles/Bloomberg

Imran Khan, former Pakistan prime minister, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for selling state gifts.

Khan was convicted alongside Bushra Bibi, his wife, by an anti-corruption court in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, on Wednesday.

The court also disqualified Khan from holding any public office ahead of the February 8 parliamentary elections.

The verdict comes a day after the former prime minister bagged a 10-year jail sentence in a case in which he was charged with leaking state secrets.

Khan, who was Pakistan’s prime minister from 2018 until his removal in 2022, is already serving a three-year jail term after being convicted of selling state gifts.

In the ruling which was made last year, the former premier was also banned from politics for five years.

Although the sentence was later suspended, Khan remained behind bars for at least 100 other cases in Pakistan since his ouster as the country’s prime minister.

Bibi had also been on remand throughout the trial.

ALLEGED FOREIGN CONSPIRACY

In the case for which he was sentenced on Tuesday, Khan was accused of leaking secret diplomatic correspondence sent by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington to Islamabad, when he was in office.

It relates to his appearance at a rally in March 2022 where he appeared on stage, waving a piece of paper that he said showed a foreign conspiracy against him.

The cricketer-turned-politician said the paper detailed that “all will be forgiven if Imran Khan is removed from power”.

Khan did not name the country — but was subsequently highly critical of the United States.

According to the prosecution, the former PM’s actions amounted to leaking a classified document and damaging diplomatic relations.

The latter charge can lead to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Following the former official’s latest sentence, it was unclear whether the jail terms were to run consecutively or concurrently.

Reacting to the developments in a statement posted to his X account, Khan who has repeatedly described his cases as “politically motivated”, said “this is not a trial but a fixed match whose outcome was predetermined by the characters and planners of the London Plan and their seals”.

He asked citizens “to take revenge for every injustice by your vote on February 8 while remaining peaceful”.

Khan’s legal team has vowed to challenge the “ridiculous decision” in superior courts.