• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Imran Khan Gets 14 Years in His Second Sentence in Two Days

Imran Khan Gets 14 Years in His Second Sentence in Two Days

Just a day after he was sentenced to a decade in prison, former Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan on Wednesday was ordered jailed for 14 years in a separate case, dealing him another heavy blow in his bitter feud with the country’s powerful military.

The new sentence, handed down eight days before a scheduled national election in which Mr. Khan’s party has been battered by a widening crackdown, came in a case involving state gifts. His wife, Bushra Bibi, also received a 14-year sentence. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

In announcing the verdict at the high-security prison where Mr. Khan, 71, has been held for months, the judge also said that the former prime minister and his wife would be barred from holding office for 10 years.

Mr. Khan questioned the fairness and impartiality of the trial during the hearing on Wednesday. He asked the judge: “Why are you in a hurry to announce the verdict? I have not even recorded my final statement.” Mr. Khan then exited the courtroom, and the judge announced the sentence in his absence.

His lawyers said they would appeal the verdict. They have also said they will appeal the 10-year sentence that Mr. Khan received on Tuesday, in a case involving state secrets.

“These cases are not trials; this is a drama,” Syed Ali Zafar, a senior legal aide to Mr. Khan, told reporters. “The Constitution and the law have been violated; there is no doubt that this punishment will be suspended soon.”

But analysts said that Mr. Khan’s fate was less a judicial matter than a political one, following a familiar pattern in which popular politicians in Pakistan have been barred from politics after falling out with the military establishment. Top generals have long guided the country’s politics from behind the scenes.

In 2017, Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister who also has a history of running afoul of the military, was removed from office after the Supreme Court ruled that corruption allegations had disqualified him.

Mr. Sharif now appears to have been rehabilitated by the military, after his earlier sentences were overturned and he was allowed to return to Pakistan from exile. He is now running an election campaign in the hope of becoming prime minister for a record fourth time.

His rival, Mr. Khan, a former world-famous cricketer, was removed from power in April 2022 after a parliamentary vote of no confidence, which came soon after a rift developed between him and the military’s senior command.

Since then, he has led a powerful political campaign, defiantly taking on the generals and setting off a wave of discontent and anger among a large section of society. His popularity among citizens remains high, despite attempts to sideline him.

Still, analysts said Mr. Khan’s legal troubles had greatly diminished the chances of success for his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or P.T.I., at the polls on Feb. 8.

“These convictions will surely dent the morale of Mr. Khan’s party workers,” said Sabir Shah, a political analyst in the eastern city of Lahore.

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