Imran Khan sentenced to 14 years in prison in Toshakhana case


Former Pakistan captain and Prime Minister Imran Khan has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. The case, known in Pakistan as the Toshakhana reference, pertains to selling gifts he was given in his capacity as Prime Minister without declaring proceeds for tax purposes. His wife, Bushra Bibi, was also convicted and sentenced to a 14-year prison term. He has also been fined PKR 787 million (USD 2.9m). While he was already banned from running for political office for five years, this has been extended to ten years.

Imran’s conviction and sentencing comes a day after he was sentenced to ten years in jail on a separate charge less than 24 hours earlier, while the former prime minister was already in custody on a three year prison term he was sentenced to in August. While that sentence, which also related to selling state gifts in what the court ruled were corrupt practices, was later suspended, Imran was not released from prison. His current 14-year sentence will run concurrently with his ten-year term, as is standard practice in Pakistan.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), the party Imran founded and led to power in Pakistan’s most recent general elections, said the proceedings “exposed a complete disregard of law by a trial court” and that “such a sham trial belonged to the dustbin”.

Imran’s legal troubles have only snowballed since he was removed from prime minister after a no-confidence vote in April 2022, with over a hundred cases registered against him. However, this is the first time the legal system has also sentenced his wife, Bushra Bibi, to a jail term. Unlike Imran, she had not been incarcerated prior.

The sentencing of Imran and his wife comes amid a heavy-handed state crackdown against the former Pakistan cricketer. With general elections due in Pakistan in eight days, the PTI has been banned from running altogether. Political rallies organised by the PTI have been shut dispersed and shut down by authorities. A rally in Karachi was forcefully halted by police who fired tear gas and arrested dozens of PTI workers, and for months, there was a de facto ban on mentioning his name on Pakistani TV. On several occasions when the PTI has attempted to hist virtual, online fundraisers, nationwide internet blackouts that coincide with the timing of those events have ensued. Authorities have claimed the two events are unrelated.

The International Human Rights Federation, in a statement after Imran was given the 10-year sentence yesterday said their findings revealed “a disturbing disregard for the basic principles of justice and due process” after he was denied access to his chosen counsel, which they termed “a flagrant violation of rights enshrined in international law”.

Opinion polling in the lead-up to the elections has been non-existent, but the most recent independent polls have shown Imran to be the most popular politician in the country, even though neither he nor his party can contest the upcoming elections. When he was arrested by paramilitary security forces in May 2023, violent uprisings took place throughout the country that led to an internet blackout that lasted several days; tens of thousands of his political supporters were also arrested.

There was no immediate statement from Imran or his lawyers following the sentence, though they are expected to appeal.

Danyal Rasool is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent. @Danny61000

#Imran #Khan #sentenced #years #prison #Toshakhana #case

Leave a Comment