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Pakistani court suspends ex-PM Imran Khan's graft conviction

April 1, 2024

A court has suspended a 14-year prison sentence for Imran Khan relating to gifts he received as prime minister. However, he remains in custody and faces a deluge of other criminal charges.

Protesters in Karachi holding up photos of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
Despite being in custody, former Prime Minister Imran Khan remains popular in PakistanImage: Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images

An appeals court in Pakistan suspended a graft conviction for former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife on Monday, his spokesperson said.

The ruling throws out a 14-year sentence, but the couple won't be released as they are already serving prison terms for other cases.

The 71-year-old former prime minister now has more than 170 criminal cases hanging over him, which include treason and illegal marriage.

What was the case about?

Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were charged with illegally selling gifts during his time as prime minister that should have landed in a state treasury known locally as the "Toshakhana."

The gifts included perfumes, diamond jewelry, dinner sets, and six Rolex watches, among other things worth more than $500,000 (€470,000) in total.

The Islamabad High Court said on Monday that the couple's graft sentence will remain suspended until a final decision after the Eid holiday, according to Khan's lawyer, Ali Zafar.

The court reportedly ruled that the original hearing failed to meet the legal requirements for a fair trial.

"No evidence backs up this conviction," Zafar told reporters outside the court.

Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said the legal cases against him were politically motivated to keep him out of politics after he fell out of favor with the country's powerful military generals.

Khan, however, remains popular among the general population.

zc/sms (AP, AFP, dpa)