A special court sentenced former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, to 14 years in prison on Wednesday for failing to declare money obtained from the sale of gifts he received during his term in office, the second sentence issued this week. against the country’s main opposition leader, who on Tuesday was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “revelation of official secrets.”
The verdict also includes a 10-year disqualification from holding public office, his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said. Bushra Jan, commonly known as Bushra Bibi, surrendered for arrest soon after the verdict, PTI added.
According to the accusation against the political leader and former cricket star, he resold several gifts that belonged to the State without declaring the actual amount received.
Today’s ruling corresponds to a case known in the country as the Toshakhana case, the name of the government warehouse where gifts received by government officials from foreign officials are kept. According to the accusation against the political leader and former cricket star, Jan resold several of those gifts without declaring the actual amount received, which belonged to the state coffers.
The 14-year prison sentence is harsher than the 10-year sentence imposed on Jan on Tuesday on charges of revealing state secrets, which comes just a week before national elections.
“Another sad day in the history of our judicial system, which is being dismantled,” Jan’s media team said, denying the allegation that any illegal acts had been committed.
“No cross-examination is allowed, no final argument is concluded and the decision emerges as a predetermined process,” they said, adding that “this ridiculous decision will also be challenged.”
Jan and his wife are accused of illegally selling gifts worth about $501,000 owned by the state and received during his tenure as prime minister between 2018 and 2022. Government officials have alleged that Jan’s aides sold the gifts in Dubai.
A list of these gifts shared by a former Information Minister included perfumes, diamond jewelry, tableware and seven watches, six of them Rolex; the most expensive was a “Master Graff limited edition” valued at $304,000.
Jan had been sentenced to three years in prison in August on the same charge by another court, but that sentence had been suspended on appeal.
Wednesday’s verdict follows an investigation by the country’s top anti-graft body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which also accused his wife in the case.
Bushra’s conviction is an attempt to put further pressure on Jan, PTI acting president and lawyer Gohar Ali Jan said in a television interview. “Bushra Bibi has no connection with this case,” he added.
While Jan has been convicted in the other two cases, this is the first sentence for his wife. The two married in 2018, months before Jan ascended to the premiership for the first time. It was Jan’s third marriage after two divorces.
A member of the prosecution team, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed the verdict. A detailed verdict will be published soon, he said. Local broadcaster Geo News reported that the verdict also included a hefty fine.
The previous conviction against Jan resulted in a five-year ban from holding public office, ruling the 71-year-old politician out of the upcoming elections on February 8. However, Wednesday’s verdict means that he will not be eligible to hold office until he is 81 years old. The former prime minister is currently detained and has more than a hundred cases pending in different courts in the country.