Another prison sentence for Imran Khan

A court in Pakistan has sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife to 14 years in prison.

His lawyer told the local television station Geo News. The judiciary accuses the opposition politician of having hidden income from the sale of state gifts during his time as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

Just on Tuesday, the popular 71-year-old former cricket star was sentenced to ten years in prison in another case. A new parliament will be elected in Pakistan on February 8th. The opposition has been massively weakened due to Khan’s imprisonment.

Time and again, prime ministers in the South Asian country with more than 240 million inhabitants are dismissed prematurely – like Khan in April 2022. The powerful military, which has held half of the country’s power since the state was founded in 1947, is considered to be crucial to the fall and rise of politicians in the nuclear-armed state Time itself ruled.

Pakistan’s former prime minister sentenced again to long prison shortly before elections

Imran Khan has already received long prison sentences in two cases – now a court has sentenced him to a further 14 years for embezzlement. The timing is no coincidence: Pakistan will elect a new parliament in eight days.

The party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan is massively weakened shortly before the parliamentary elections in Pakistan.

A court sentenced Khan to 14 years in prison on Wednesday for embezzlement. The verdict came a day after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a separate case for revealing state secrets.

Khan’s wife Bushra was also sentenced to 14 years in prison. The couple is accused of illegally selling government gifts. The ex-prime minister was sentenced to three years in prison in a corruption case last summer.

Khan’s party had announced that it would appeal the earlier rulings. “We do not accept this illegal decision,” wrote Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha on X about Tuesday’s verdict.

His lawyers also condemned the latest verdict. However, Bushra Bibi has not yet been arrested. The couple married in 2018, months before Khan was elected head of government.

Hoping for release

The popular ex-cricketer is not allowed to take part in the parliamentary elections anyway. Pakistan prohibits those with a criminal conviction from leading a political party, participating in elections, or holding public office. The verdict in the summer had already excluded him from the election.

However, his lawyers hoped to secure his release from prison. Khan has been sitting there since August. Recent rulings have made release unlikely, even if appealed to a higher court.

Numerous proceedings have been underway against Khan since he was removed from office in a vote of no confidence in parliament in 2022. He was forced out of office after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament. It was said at the time that the military was trying to sideline him after he fell out with the generals over the appointment of senior security officials.

Khan has been at the center of the protracted political unrest in nuclear-armed Pakistan, which has shone a spotlight on the powerful military’s influence over civilian politics. Pakistan has a long history of political rivalries played out in legal disputes. Dozens of cases have been filed against Khan. He denies the allegations, which he says were concocted by his enemies, including the military, to keep him out of politics.

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