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Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan and wife sentenced to 14 years in jail in Toshakhana corruption case

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years of rigorous punishment in the Toshakhana case on Wednesday, according to reports in local media.

BREAKING Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan and wife get 14 years jail in Toshakhana case snt
First Published Jan 31, 2024, 10:54 AM IST

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years in prison by a Pakistani anti-corruption court on Wednesday in the Toshakhana case, as per reports from Pakistani media. Additionally, the couple received a 10-year ban from holding any public office and were fined PKR 787 million. The judgment in the Toshakhana case was delivered a day subsequent to a special court in Pakistan, established under the Official Secrets Act, sentencing Imran Khan and former Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to 10 years in prison for the violation of state secrets.

Toshakhana, which translates to "treasure house" in Persian, operates under Pakistani regulations where government officials are permitted to retain gifts of low value. However, for extravagant items, officials must pay a significantly reduced fee to the government. The Toshakhana came under scrutiny following allegations that Khan, during his tenure as prime minister, and his wife acquired gifts at nominal rates and subsequently sold them for substantial profits in the open market.

During his premiership from 2018 to 2022, Khan faced allegations of misusing his position to purchase and sell gifts held by the state, acquired during official visits abroad, with a total value exceeding Rs 140 million ($635,000). According to Pakistani government officials, the gifts comprised watches presented by a royal family, purportedly sold by Khan's associates in Dubai. Among the items were seven wristwatches, six of which were crafted by the renowned watchmaker Rolex, with the most valuable being a "Master Graff limited edition" valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000).

Apart from Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi, property developer Malik Riaz Hussain, his son Riaz Alia, Imran Khan's former aides including Shehzad Akbar and Zulfiqar Bukhari as well as Bibi's friend Farah Gogi and lawyer Zia Mustafa are also co-accused in the case. 

Wednesday's verdict comes a day after Imran Khan was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a special court on Tuesday for leaking sensitive state secrets, in another blow to his bid to return to power in the February 8 general elections.

The decision to sentence Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was announced by special court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain on Tuesday during the hearing of the case held at the special court in Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi established under the stringent Official Secrets Act.

Imran Khan, aged 71, a former cricketer turned politician, is currently serving a three-year jail term following a conviction on corruption charges.

The controversy surfaced on March 27, 2022, when Imran Khan, less than a month before his ouster in April 2022, addressed a public rally and displayed a letter to the crowd. In his address, Khan asserted that the letter was a cipher from a foreign nation that had colluded with his political adversaries to orchestrate the downfall of his government.

Khan refrained from disclosing the contents of the letter or identifying the nation it originated from during his address. However, shortly afterward, he leveled accusations against the US, alleging a conspiracy aimed at his government. Khan specifically implicated Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs, Donald Lu, accusing him of actively seeking his removal from office.

The cipher in question pertained to a meeting between former Pakistan ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, and Lu. The Federal Investigation Agency filed a case against Khan and Qureshi on August 15 last year, alleging violations of secrecy laws in their handling of the cable dispatched by the Pakistan embassy in Washington in March 2022.

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