Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has been sentenced by a court in Islamabad to three years in jail and disqualified him from politics for “corrupt practices” involving the sale of state gifts.
Khan, 70, was picked up by police from his home in Lahore on Saturday after a court ruled on the Toshakhana case, in which he was accused of illegally selling gifts from heads of state worth hundreds of millions of rupees.
“His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” the court order said.
Mr Khan denied the charges leveled against him
Toshakhana is the government department that stores official gifts given to rulers and government officials. Khan is alleged to have bought several of the valuable gifts, including an antique watch given to him by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and sold them for profit.
The gifts – reported to be worth more than 140 million Pakistani rupees ($635,000) – included Rolex watches, a ring and a pair of cuff links.
Mr Khan’s barrister Gohar Khan said the verdict was “a murder of justice
The judge found Khan had “deliberately submitted fake details” of the gifts to the court and had been involved in corruption. After expressing his displeasure that Khan’s lawyers were not in court, he sentenced him to three years in prison and ordered him to be banned from politics for five years.
Khan’s lawyer, Intezar Hussain Panjutha, said they would be appealing against the ruling, calling it a case of “political victimization”.
“Khan was not given an opportunity to defend himself and say his side of the story,” he said. “We wanted to provide witnesses in his favour but he was not allowed this opportunity. Khan was not given a fair trial.”
The ruling and subsequent arrest are likely to be the final nail in the coffin for Khan’s chances of contesting Pakistan’s upcoming general elections, which are scheduled to take place in October or November.