Following are details of the cases against former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was arrested on Saturday after a court sentenced him to three years in prison for illegally selling state gifts. Khan has denied wrongdoing.
- An Islamabad court issued the arrest warrant after convicting the cricket star-turned-politician, who remains the leading opposition figure despite his removal. Police moved quickly to take Khan from his home in the eastern city of Lahore to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. It is the second time he has been detained this year.
- Khan, 70, was convicted of misusing his 2018-2022 term at prime minister to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than $490,000.
- The gifts allegedly included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who alleged previously that Khan’s aides sold them in Dubai. The list reportedly also contains perfumes, diamond jewellery and dinner sets.
- The gifts allegedly also included seven watches, six of them Rolexes. The most expensive was a “Master Graff limited edition” valued at $300,000, according to a list shared by Pakistan’s information minister.
- Khan has said he legally bought the items.
- Pakistan’s election tribunal in October also found Khan guilty of unlawfully selling state gifts as prime minister.
- Since his removal from power in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April 2022, Khan has been slapped with more than 150 legal cases, including several on charges of corruption, terrorism and inciting people to violence over deadly protests in May that saw his followers attack government and military property across the country.
- Efforts to put Khan behind bars have been stepped up in advance of elections expected later this year. His popularity and large support base, combined with his ability to mobilise massive crowds, pose a threat to the governing coalition and could potentially polarise the electorate.
- Khan was arrested in May by Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency in connection with another corruption case. He denied wrongdoing and was released on bail within days.
- The three-year prison sentence could see Khan barred from politics as the law says people with a criminal conviction cannot hold or run for public office. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, condemned the ruling and said it will challenge the decision in a superior court.
- While a superior court can suspend the conviction, it is the country’s election body that can ultimately disqualify Khan from politics.
- Khan is the seventh former prime minister to be arrested in Pakistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was arrested and hanged in 1979. The current prime minister’s brother, Nawaz Sharif, who also served as prime minister, was arrested several times on corruption allegations.
Source: News Agencies