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Imran Khan and Wife Sentenced to Seven Years for Unlawful Marriage

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Imran Khan And Wife Sentenced To Seven Years For Unlawful Marriage

A Pakistan court has sentenced former prime minister Imran Khan to a further seven years in prison along with his wife, Bushra Bibi, after ruling that their 2018 marriage violated the law. This is the third adverse ruling against the embattled former prime minister this week, and it comes ahead of national elections on Thursday that he is barred from contesting.

The civil court, set up inside the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi city where Khan is imprisoned, delivered the sentence on Saturday in the presence of the couple. They have also been fined a million rupees ($3,560). The case against the couple was filed last year by Bibi’s former husband, Khawar Maneka, who alleged that she did not observe the necessary three-month break required under Islamic law before remarrying Khan.

Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi were both accused of not completing the waiting period, called ‘Iddat’, mandated by Islam, after divorcing their previous partners.

Khan, 71, has recently faced multiple convictions. On Tuesday, he and his close aide Shah Mehmood Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years in jail for leaking a document called ‘cypher’ sent by a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States. He claimed the document contained evidence that the Pakistani military, in collusion with his political opponents and US officials, conspired to have him removed from power in April 2022. The Pakistani army and Washington have denied the charge.

The following day, Khan and Bibi were sentenced to a 14-year prison term and fined 1.5 billion rupees ($5.3 million) in a case related to the illegal sale of state gifts they received when Khan was prime minister.

Khan is currently in prison in Rawalpindi, while Bibi has been allowed to serve her sentence at their hilltop mansion in Islamabad. Khan already faces a 10-year disqualification from holding public office. It is not immediately clear if the sentences will run concurrently or sequentially.

Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, an official belonging to Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), stated that the haste with which these judgments were passed makes a ‘mockery of the law’. He called the marriage case ‘fake’ and questioned the judiciary for taking it up. PTI President Gohar Ali Khan said the trial on the marriage law was ‘shameful’, and the party intends to appeal the sentencing in a higher court.

These series of convictions against Imran Khan have raised concerns about the upcoming February 8 elections, in which he is barred from contesting. The vote is also taking place amid a severe crackdown on PTI and the party’s inability to use its election symbol, forcing its candidates to run as independents. Despite these challenges, most surveys continue to show Khan as the country’s most popular leader.

Source: Al Jazeera

Rachel Adams

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