PM Imran Khan
PM Imran Khan

Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan, wife now gets 7 years jail for marriage law violation

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The decision was made just under a week before the national elections, and it comes after the couple of PM Imran Khan received a 14-year sentence in another case.

PM Imran Khan

Islamabad, Pakistan – A court in Pakistan has sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi to seven years in prison, ruling that their 2018 marriage violated Islamic law.

The civil court, established inside the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi city where Khan is imprisoned, delivered the sentence on Saturday in the couple’s presence. It also imposed a fine of a million rupees ($3,560) on them.

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The case against the couple was initiated last year by Bibi’s former husband, Khawar Maneka, who alleged that his divorced wife did not observe the necessary three-month break required under Islamic law before remarrying PM Imran Khan.

Maneka asserts that he divorced his wife in November 2017. Khan announced his third marriage to Bibi in February 2018, several months before assuming the position of prime minister.

This marks PM Imran Khan’s third conviction this week – and a second for his wife – ahead of general elections on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Khan and his close aide Shah Mehmood Qureshi received a 10-year jail sentence for leaking a confidential cable, known as a cipher, sent by a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States.

Imran Khan asserted that the document contained evidence suggesting that the Pakistani military, in collaboration with his political adversaries and US officials, conspired to oust him from power in April 2022. Both Washington and the Pakistani army have denied the allegations.

A day later, both Imran Khan and Bibi were handed a 14-year prison sentence and fined 1.5 billion rupees ($5.3 million) in connection to the illegal sale of gifts they had received during Imran Khan’s tenure as the prime minister. Bibi has been placed under arrest at Imran Khan’s Islamabad residence.

Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, an official from the Imran Khan Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, expressed to Al Jazeera that the speed at which the judgments against Imran Khan were issued ridicules the legal process. He emphasized that the manner in which these trials are conducted raises concerns about the fairness of the February 8 elections, calling the marriage case “fake” and questioning the judiciary’s decision to pursue it.

“This serves as a litmus test for Pakistan’s higher judiciary,” he commented, further stating, “In a sense, it’s a triumph for Imran Khan. It demonstrates that every other accusation against him is baseless, leading to the imposition of absurd charges and sentences. It also highlights that while other nations are focused on economic advancement, our operational standards here are at this level.”

PTI President Gohar Ali Khan criticized the trial related to the marriage law, labeling it as “shameful” and stating that the verdict was expected. He mentioned that the party plans to appeal the sentencing in a higher court.

The series of convictions against Khan have cast a long shadow on the February 8 elections, with Khan barred from contesting. The vote is occurring amid a severe crackdown on the PTI, which is also prohibited from using its election symbol, compelling its candidates to run as independents.

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