Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has been sentenced to 14 years in jail in a corruption case, just a day after he was given a 10-year sentence for leaking state secrets.
Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, was also handed a 14-year sentence in the case, known as Toshakhana, which accused them both of illegally selling state gifts. The judge also banned them both from holding political office for 10 years.
The sentence, given at a hearing held in the Rawalpindi prison where Khan is being held, further worsens the plight of the beleaguered former prime minister, who has been in jail since August and is facing over a hundred different charges.
The judge had denied Khan’s lawyers request to cross-examine witnesses in the trial and Khan’s lawyers were not present on Wednesday when the sentence was given.
Bibi surrendered to the authorities at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Wednesday morning.
The Toshakhana verdict came just a day after a special court, also held in prison, found Khan guilty of leaking state secrets in relation to a sensitive diplomatic cable that allegedly went missing in his possession. Khan had described the trial as a sham and lawyers said he would be appealing against the verdict.
The timing of both consecutive convictions was deemed as significant by observers, coming just a week before Pakistan goes to the polls in its long-delayed general election. Though Khan is already banned from running, he remains hugely popular among voters.
This is Khan’s second sentencing in the Toshakaha case, which related to allegations that the former prime minister bought several gifts given by rulers and government officials at low prices and then sold them on for an undeclared profit. Khan had denied all wrongdoing.
The anti-graft watchdog alleged that Khan and his wife had received 108 gifts from heads of state and foreign officials, some worth millions of rupees, during his term as prime minister and that many had been illegally kept or sold by the pair.
Khan was initially given a three year sentence in the case in August, but after a higher court threw out the judgment, the legal proceedings began again after investigators presented fresh evidence relating to jewellery given by the Saudi crown prince and allegedly kept by Khan and his wife.
On Wednesday, the judge issued an even more severe sentence against both Khan and his wife, which included a collective fine of 787 million rupees ($2.8m).
Khan, who was toppled from power in 2022, has claimed that the mounting cases against him are politically motivated.
Since he was removed from office in a vote of no-confidence, Khan began to publicly criticise the country’s powerful military who have long been accused of meddling in politics. He alleged the military leadership bore a “grudge” against him and were orchestrating his imprisonment so he could not run in the elections.
Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have also faced harassment and intimidation, with senior leadership imprisoned or pressured into leaving the party, while workers have been prevented from campaigning or holding political rallies in the build up to the election.
A statement by PTI on X following Wednesday’s verdict said Khan and Bibi had faced “yet another kangaroo trial in which no right to defence was given to both”.
The party said there had been a “complete destruction of every existing law in Pakistan in two days.”