Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan arrested, sentenced to three years in prison

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been arrested in Lahore on Saturday (August 5) afternoon after he was handed a three-year prison sentence in a corruption case.

The police moved in quickly to arrest him from his Lahore home soon after the Islamabad court issued an arrest warrant after convicting Khan in absentia. He is expected to serve his sentence in the Rawalpindi central jail in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

What did the court say?

Judge Humayun Dilawar wrote in a detailed verdict that Khan’s “dishonesty has been established beyond doubt”. The verdict added: “He has been found guilty of corrupt practices by hiding the benefits he accrued from national exchequer willfully and intentionally. He cheated while providing information of gifts he obtained from Toshakhana which later proved to be false and inaccurate”.

Reaction

His party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) condemned the ruling and said it will challenge the decision in a supreme court. Khan’s legal team said they would be filing an immediate appeal. The political party has announced peaceful protests against the arrest and charges.

Political future of Imran Khan

The political future of Imran Khan was thrown into doubt as the prison sentence could see him barred from politics as the law says people with a criminal conviction cannot hold or run for public office.

Why was he arrested?

The court sentenced Khan to three years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 after hearing the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) criminal complaint against the PTI chief for concealing details of the gifts of Toshakhana (state gift repository).

This is the second time in three months that Khan has been arrested. Earlier, he was detained last May by Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in another case. Khan denied wrongdoing and was released on bail within days.

Since his removal from power in a no-confidence vote in April 2022, Khan has been facing more than 150 legal cases, including several on charges of corruption, terrorism and inciting people to violence over deadly protests in May.

What is the latest corruption case about?

Khan is accused by ECP of misusing his authority as prime minister during 2018-2022 to unlawfully buy and sell state gifts that were received during visits abroad that are worth more than 140 million Pakistani rupees ($500,000).

The gifts allegedly included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials. The gifts allegedly include seven watches.

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