Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, spent the night in a maximum security facility after a local court sentenced him to three years in prison for corruption-related charges. Khan’s political career is in jeopardy as a result of the five-year political ban imposed by the conviction.
The former cricketer-turned-politician, 70, is charged with selling state goods for profit totaling $497,500 worth of 140 million Pakistani rupees. Khan has refuted accusations of corruption, claiming that he purchased the items legitimately from Toshakhana, a government-owned treasure house.
Khan was not granted a fair trial, according to Khan’s attorneys, and the case is politically motivated.
The well-liked opposition figure, whose detention in May provoked violent demonstrations, said to Al Jazeera that the government is attempting to stifle his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the largest party in the nation, ahead of elections.
“You cannot stop an idea that has reached its proper moment. If you look at the surveys, PTI has a 70% acceptance rating. No other party has enjoyed such support. So what is going on, Khan said in an interview.
Khan’s attorney and PTI member Babar Awan referred to the decision as a “ridiculous verdict by a sham court.”
“Imran Khan was not given a fair trial, which is a right of every citizen in this country, according to the constitution,”
Khan did not attend the hearing in court. He was accused of conducting his trial in absentia, which is not permitted by Pakistani law. Therefore, after their appeal to the high court, Awan stated that there was “every likelihood of suspension of the verdict and early release of Imran Khan.”
Any dreams Khan may have had of contesting in the forthcoming general election are all but dashed by the arrest. In Pakistan, anyone convicted of a crime is ineligible to run in elections, and the parliament is likely to be dissolved in the next two weeks, right before its term is out.
The country’s most recent census results, which call for the redistricting of constituencies in accordance with Pakistani law, were released on Saturday. A general election is scheduled for mid-November, but there is speculation that the polls may be postponed as a result.
If Khan’s appeal is denied, he would be able to run for office again after five years. Khan, however, is accused of corruption and attempted murder in this and more than 150 other cases that are pending in the courts. Khan claims that the cases brought against him are intended to keep him from running in elections.
Following the defection of some PTI MPs and some of Khan’s loyalists, Khan was ousted from office in a no-confidence vote in April. He insisted that the potent military overthrew his administration. The army has refuted the allegations.
He turned against the establishment, which is another word for the military, after blaming the vote on a US-backed conspiracy, and his popularity has subsequently skyrocketed as a result. Numerous admirers flooded the streets in response to his ferocious and impassioned speeches.
In November 2022, he was wounded in the leg during a rally, which only served to increase support for him. Khan would later charge the general with being involved in an assassination plot. He has not offered any evidence to support his claims.