The ruling comes a day after another court convicted Khan of leaking state secrets and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years in prison in a case related to the illegal sale of state gifts.
The Rawalpindi Accountability Court, which handles corruption cases, on Wednesday also ruled the couple ineligible to contest for public office for 10 years, and also imposed a fine of 787 million rupees ($2.8 million) on each of them.
The ruling came a day after Khan was sentenced to 10 years in prison for disclosing state secrets. It was not clear whether the sentences would be served consecutively or simultaneously.
Khan has already been in prison since August, facing trial in several cases. His lawyer, Intisar Hussain Panjotha, told Al Jazeera that Bushra Bibi also surrendered to prison authorities.
Khan was sentenced to three years in prison in August in a case brought by the Election Commission of Pakistan for failing to disclose his assets based on the sale of government gifts worth more than 140 million rupees ($501,000) that he received when he was prime minister of Pakistan. 2018 to April 2022. Judgment in that case was suspended. The latest ruling relates to a parallel case brought by an anti-corruption agency, in which Khan and his wife were accused of graft in the sale of state gifts.
The convictions against Pakistan's most popular politician came about a week before the general elections on February 8.
Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has already been stripped of its electoral symbol, the cricket bat, with all its candidates running as independents.
PTI official Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari said Khan's sentencing was “another sad day in Pakistan's judicial history” and questioned its legitimacy.
“The judiciary is being dismantled. The flawed decision should have been stayed by the Supreme Court, as it seemed clear that witnesses were at risk,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Distinguished witnesses have been changed… without being allowed to be cross-examined, no final argument has been reached, and the decision appears to be a pre-determined process in play. This ridiculous decision will be appealed to the higher courts.”
“The generals tell voters: Don't go and vote.”
Pakistani political analyst Cyril Almeida said Khan's conviction is a message from the powerful military to the people ahead of the vote next week.
“The generals are telling voters: ‘Don’t bother.’ He told Al Jazeera: ‘Don’t bother voting for Imran because he won’t be allowed near power again anytime soon.’” Whether voters obey [the army] He will know next week. “The accusations are political, the condemnation is political, and when the time comes, the retreat will be political.”
The Pakistani army has broad political influence, and has directly ruled the country for three decades since the founding of the South Asian country in 1947. Although no prime minister in Pakistan's history has completed his term, three of the four military dictators ruled for nearly a decade each.
Lawyer Reza Hussain said the speed with which successive convictions against Khan were announced is inexplicable.
“The right to a fair trial lies at the heart of any civilized society governed by the rule of law. Even those accused of committing the most heinous crimes should receive a fair trial. It is clear that there was no fair process in this case,” she told Al Jazeera.
However, Ishtar Usaf Ali, former Attorney General of Pakistan, said PTI lawyers were given ample opportunity to present their arguments. He added: “They failed to refute the prosecution's case or hold it accountable.”
On Tuesday, a US State Department spokesman declined to comment on Khan's ruling in the state secrets case.
“Of course, we want to see the democratic process unfold in a way that allows for broad participation by all parties and respects democratic principles. We do not take a position, as you have heard us say before, on internal Pakistani affairs, and we do not take a position with regard to candidates for office in Pakistan”.
He added: “We want to see a free, fair and open democratic process, and when it comes to legal matters, these are matters for the Pakistani courts to decide.”
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