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Toshakhana case: Court sentences Imran and his wife Bushra to 14 years in jail

Toshakhana case: Court sentences Imran and his wife Bushra to 14 years in jail

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Virendra Pandit 

 

New Delhi: A day after a “special court” sentenced him to 10 years in prison in the cipher case, another court ordered former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi and his current and third wife Bushra Bibi to spend 14 years in jail in the Toshakhana case, the media reported on Wednesday.

With this fresh sentence to Khan, the Army-controlled Pakistan establishment has sought to clear the way for its current favorite, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, to potentially take oath as the PM a fourth time after the February 8 General Elections to the National Assembly.

The court found the Khans guilty of graft in a case involving the gifts Imran received as the PM (2018-22) and allegedly sold off rather than depositing them in the Toshakhana (Treasure House).

“Another sad day in our judicial system history, which is being dismantled,” a spokesperson for Khan’s political outfit—or whatever remains of its now–Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), told the media.

After his ouster in April 2022, the army-run Islamabad clamped over 150 court cases against him. He has already been in jail since August 2023.

It was not immediately clear if the former cricket star’s sentences were to run consecutively or concurrently following a trial held inside the jail where he has been detained for much of the time since his arrest in August.

Khan’s lawyer Salman Safdar confirmed he had been sentenced alongside his wife, Bushra Bibi, who had been on remand throughout the trial.

“Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi have been sentenced. Bushra Bibi has not been arrested as yet,” Safdar said.

They married in 2018, months before the then army acolyte Khan was ‘elected’ as Prime Minister.

Bushra, a ‘faith healer’ who met Khan when he approached her for spiritual guidance, is rarely seen in public.

About 127 million Pakistanis are eligible to vote in the parliamentary election next Thursday (February 8), with Khan and PTI at the center of debate despite being squeezed out of the limelight.

The ballot has already been marred by allegations of rigging, with Khan barred from running over a previous graft conviction and his party subject to a massive crackdown.

Since being ousted, Khan has been buried by court cases he claims have been triggered to prevent his return to office after a campaign of defiance against Pakistan’s military kingmakers.

Khan had accused the powerful military — with whom he ruled in partnership for much of his tenure — of orchestrating his ouster in a US-backed conspiracy.

When Khan was first arrested in May last year, riots broke out across the country.

But his street power was killed by a military crackdown that saw thousands of supporters detained – nearly 100 of whom are facing closed-door military trials — and dozens of senior leaders forced underground.

“You have to take revenge for every injustice with your vote on February 8,” Khan said in a statement posted on his X profile reacting to his 10-year sentence on Tuesday.

“Tell them that we are not sheep that can be driven with a stick.”

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