Former Pakistan PM Khan handed 2nd jail time period in 2 days as election looms

Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was discovered responsible of corruption on Wednesday and sentenced to 14 years, yet one more blow to the imprisoned populist chief, days earlier than his political motion makes an attempt a return to energy in parliamentary elections which can be simply days away.

It was Khan’s second conviction in as many days and the harshest but, and was the newest episode within the long-running battle between the highly effective army and civilian leaders within the troubled Western ally. It comes a day after one other particular courtroom convicted Khan of leaking state secrets and techniques and gave him a 10-year jail sentence.

Khan and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, had been accused of retaining and promoting state presents in violation of presidency guidelines when he was in energy, together with jewellery and watches from Saudi Arabia’s authorities. Along with his jail time period, Khan was disqualified from holding any public workplace for 10 years.

The prosecution, which handed down an indictment simply three weeks in the past, mentioned Khan didn’t appropriately disclose his revenue after promoting the presents. Along with the jail phrases, the couple was fined 787 million rupees ($3.7 million Cdn) every.

His lawyer, Babar Awan, dismissed the conviction as a violation of Khan’s fundamentals rights mentioned the previous prime minister was convicted and sentenced in such a rush that the decide didn’t anticipate the arrival of his authorized crew.

Bibi was absent when the decide introduced the decision however later went to the courtroom to keep away from being arrested. She will likely be handed over to jail officers to serve her sentence.

Khan briefly attended Wednesday’s listening to however left the courtroom when the decide was about to learn the decision. He mentioned he couldn’t stay there with out his lawyer and requested the decide to attend. His request was denied.

Occasion hobbled earlier than Feb. 8 vote

Khan was ousted from energy in a no-confidence vote in April 2022 and now has greater than 150 authorized circumstances hanging over him. 

Nonetheless, the previous cricket star stays intensely in style. Pakistan noticed violent demonstrations — together with ones that focused army installations — after Khan’s arrest final 12 months.

Law enforcement officials detains a supporter of PKhan from outdoors the Sindh Excessive Court docket in Karachi on Tuesday. (Fareed Khan/The Related Press)

Authorities have since cracked down on his supporters and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf get together, or PTI, making additional rallies unlikely, and plenty of of his get together’s candidates have been disqualified from contesting the Feb. 8 parliamentary elections.

Pakistan has a historical past of arresting former prime ministers or sidelining them forward of elections if they’re deemed to pose a problem to the safety institution, which has lengthy held important sway in civilian politics. Greater than two-thirds of its civilian rulers have been arrested, convicted or disqualified for the reason that nation gained independence from Britain in 1947.

With Khan preventing authorized battles, his rival, three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, has a transparent path to a fourth time period in workplace. Sharif himself was hobbled by authorized circumstances and jail sentences, however the Supreme Court docket and different courts have acquitted him on all expenses and scrapped a lifetime ban on politicians with legal convictions from contesting elections.

Sharif’s get together succeeded Khan’s after his ouster and presently a caretaker authorities headed by Prime Minister Anwaarul-Haq-Kakar is working day-to-day affairs.

Although Kakar has mentioned he would guarantee free and truthful elections in a peaceable atmosphere, there have been remoted assaults at election rallies. A candidate from Khan’s get together, Rehan Zeb, was shot and killed Wednesday in northwestern Pakistan’s Bajur district. On Tuesday, 4 folks died when a roadside bomb went off close to rally contributors from Khan’s get together within the southwestern Baluchistan province.

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