Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been sentenced to 14 years in prison in multiple corruption and criminal cases over the past week. The verdicts come just months before Pakistan’s general elections and as Khan continues to lead mass public rallies calling for early elections.
Khan Receives Two Major Convictions This Week
On Monday, an anti-terrorism court sentenced Khan to 10 years in prison for illegally disclosing state secrets and violating the country’s Official Secrets Act. The charges stemmed from a diplomatic cypher Khan claimed showed evidence of a foreign conspiracy to oust him from power last year.
Then on Friday, an accountability court in Islamabad convicted Khan and his wife of making illegal assets beyond their known sources of income. They were each sentenced to 7 years in prison and given fines of over $7.5 million.
|Violating Official Secrets Act
|Illegal assets case
These verdicts come on top of an earlier 7-year prison sentence Khan received this week for unlawfully marrying his spiritual adviser in 2018 in violation of Pakistani marriage laws.
In total, the former cricket star turned populist leader has racked up 14 years behind bars in just one week. He denies all charges and claims they are politically motivated.
Background: Khan Ousted as PM Last Spring
Khan served as Prime Minister from 2018 until he was ousted in a no-confidence vote last April. He maintained the military helped overthrow him after he resisted calls to resign.
The former PM claimed he had evidence that the U.S. conspired with Pakistani opposition parties to orchestrate his removal. Earlier this year, he waved a diplomatic letter around at rallies that he said contained threats from a foreign country.
That letter was at the center of his illegal disclosure conviction this week. The court ruled Khan violated secrecy laws by revealing sensitive state secrets.
Since his ouster, the former cricket star has held rallies across Pakistan calling for snap elections. He claims only the public has the right to choose the next government.
Opponents Accuse Khan of Corruption
Khan swept into power in 2018 on an anti-corruption platform. But since his removal, he has faced growing allegations of corruption himself.
Opposition leaders brought multiple cases against Khan over accusations he misused state funds and assets while in office. They claim he illegally channeled public donations into private holdings and unlawfully made profits abroad.
The verdicts this week found Khan could not account for millions in foreign assets and unexplained income. In the unlawful marriage case, the court ruled he violated Islamic law provisions requiring men to disclose existing wives.
But Khan has strongly denied all charges, painting them as a political witch hunt to damage his reputation ahead of new polls. His supporters have held rowdy protests denouncing the cases as a “judicial coup” against their popular leader.
What Happens Next?
The verdicts disqualify Khan from holding public office for at least 5 years under Pakistani law. But legal experts expect years of appeals before the convictions carry any force.
In the meantime, the firebrand politician shows no signs of tempering his confrontational stance against the government. Hours after his 10-year prison sentence, Khan told supporters he was “ready to go to jail” but vowed to continue his fight.
With Khan barred from office for now, his Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party faces internal divisions over who will lead them into elections expected later this year. But the party remains broadly popular, especially among Pakistani youth.
Most observers expect incarcerating Khan could trigger major civil unrest and pressure the fragile ruling coalition. There are worries of violence if he is imprisoned and cannot keep rallying supporters. The government may seek to cut a deal given these risks.
For now, Khan remains free to continue campaigning against the administration while appealing the verdicts. But this week’s prison sentences hang over Pakistan’s chaotic political scene as the country stumbles towards early elections in late 2023.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.