Posted By

Tags

Imran Khan sentenced to three years in prison

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan taken into custody

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (BBC Photo)

Aoife Walsh (BBC News) London, August 5, 2023

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been given a three-year jail sentence over corruption allegations.

Mr Khan was found guilty of not declaring money earned from selling gifts he received in office.

He denies the charges and says he will appeal.

After the verdict, Mr Khan was taken into custody from his home in Lahore.

In a pre-recorded statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, he told his supporters: “I have only one appeal, don’t sit at home silently.”

The former cricketer-turned-politician, 70, was elected in 2018 but was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year after falling out with Pakistan’s powerful military.

The charges

Mr Khan is facing more than 100 cases brought against him since his removal – charges he says are politically motivated.

Saturday’s verdict centred on charges that he incorrectly declared details of presents from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale.

The gifts – reported to be worth more than Pakistan Rs 140 million (US$ 635,000) included Rolex watches, a ring and a pair of cuff links.

“His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” Judge Humayun Dilawar wrote in his ruling.

Mr Khan’s barrister Gohar Khan said that the verdict was “a murder of justice.”

“We were not even given a chance. We were not even allowed to cross-examine, say anything in defence or conduct our arguments. I have not seen this kind of injustice before,” he told Dawn newspaper.

As the court decision was announced, a crowd, which included some prosecuting lawyers, began chanting “Imran Khan is a thief” outside the building.

Tehreek-e-Insaf under pressure

His party, Tehreek-e-Insaf, confirmed to the BBC that after being arrested in Lahore, Mr Khan was flown to the Capital, Islamabad, to begin serving his sentence.

For months he had avoided arrest, with his supporters at times fighting pitched battles with the Police to keep him out of custody.

In May, Mr Khan was arrested for not appearing in court as requested. He was then released, with the arrest declared illegal.

Since then, his Party has been under intense pressure from the authorities.

Many senior officials have left and thousands of supporters have been arrested, accused of being involved in the protests that followed Mr Khan’s arrest.

When questioned by BBC HARDTalk as to whether he had created an atmosphere of hostility to the military resulting in violence, Mr Khan said he and his Party had never advocated the use of violence and had a record of peaceful protest.

Mr Khan said the army in Pakistan was “petrified” of elections which his Party would win “hands-down” and for that reason, “they are dismantling a democracy.”

Role of the Army

Pakistan’s army plays a prominent role in politics, sometimes seizing power in military coups, and, on other occasions, pulling levers behind the scenes.

Many analysts believe that Mr Khan’s election win in 2018 happened with the help of the military.

In opposition, he has been one of its most vocal critics, and analysts say that the army’s popularity has fallen.

Since being ousted, Mr Khan has been campaigning for early elections.

The conviction would disqualify Mr Khan from standing for office, possibly for life.

Pakistan’s Parliament will be dissolved on August 9, leaving a caretaker government to take over in the runup to the elections.

No election date has been announced, although constitutionally they should take place by early November.

Aoife Walsh is a Digital Journalist at BBC News London. The above story and picture have been published under a Special Agreement.

Share this story

Related Stories

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Advertisement

Previous
Next

Advertisement

Previous
Next

Advertisement

Previous
Next

Advertisement

Previous
Next

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous
Next

Advertisement

Previous
Next

Advertisement

Previous
Next

Advertisement