News

Imran Khan, wife Bushra handed 14-year jail sentence in Toshakhana case

Accountability Court also bars former first couple from holding any public office for 10 years: Each to pay Rs787 million fine: Bushra Bibi formally arrested at Adiala Jail: PTI to challenge verdict in IHC

By News Desk

January 31, 2024 11:41 AM


Imran Khan, wife Bushra handed 14-year jail sentence in Toshakhana case

Imran Khan and Bushra Bibii.

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In back-to-back legal setbacks, PTI founder chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were handed down 14-year rigorous imprisonment each in Toshakhana case on Wednesday, a day after a special court sentenced the former cricket captain to 10-year jail in cipher case, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

During proceedings at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, Accountability Court judge Muhammad Bashir pronounced the decision, barring the former first couple from holding any public office for a period of 10 years and also slapping a fine of Rs787 million on each of them, collectively they have to pay Rs157.30 billion.

Bushra Bibi, who recorded her statement before the judge a day before, did not appear in the courtroom on Wednesday. After hearing the court verdict, Bushra Bibi reached Adiala Jail where she was formally arrested.

Today’s hearing

Judge Muhammed Bashir pronounced the decision in the absence of Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi.

NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Muzaffar Abbasi appeared in the court with his team.

At the outset of the hearing, Judge Bashir asked Imran Khan if he had prepared the statement of 342, on which the PTI founder said that yes, he had prepared it. “Let my lawyers and Bushra Bibi come, then I will submit my statement. I will do it,” he said.

The judge asked Imran that he should submit his statement to the court as the court has to keep the proceedings going. The PTI founder said, "Why are you in such a hurry? The Islamabad High Court has rejected our request to stay the proceedings. The assistant superintendent has called me to the court to make an appearance."

The PTI founder left the courtroom for his barracks after saying this. The court sent a message to the PTI founder to come to the courtroom again.

The assistant superintendent jail stated in the court that the PTI founder was not ready to come to the courtroom, on which the court directed to call the names of the PTI founder and Bushra Bibi. The court official loudly called the names of the PTI founder and Bushra Bibi, but despite the call, the PTI founder did not come to the court.

After Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi did not appear, the court pronounced the verdict.

After the verdict, Bushra Bibi herself reached Adiala Jail to court her arrest, where she was arrested by a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Bushra Bibi and the PTI founder would be kept in separate cells.

PTI to challenge verdict in high court

PTI General Secretary Omar Ayub Khan said on the party’s X handle: “We will appeal against this decision in the High Court & continue our legal battle. We should harness and channel these energies for the polling day on 8th February 2024 by ensuring a massive voter turnout.”

https://twitter.com/PTIofficial/status/1752580403020337659

Imran Khan’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar has announced to challenge the accountability court’s decision in the Islamabad High Court.

He said that the constitutional and legal aspects were ignored by the trial court while announcing the judgment.

He said that he would file an application to obtain a copy of the verdict and after that, he would submit a miscellaneous petition for the suspension of the accountability court’s decision.

Cipher sentence

In less than 24 hours, Imran Khan got a second sentence from the courts. On Tuesday, Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the cipher case. 

The cipher verdict was pronounced by Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain of the Official Secrets Act special court after conducting proceedings at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. The judge said the prosecution had enough solid evidence to prove the crime.

Both court verdicts come just days before the February 8 general elections.

Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.

Toshakhana case background

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a reference against Imran and his wife, saying that as former prime minister, Imran was presented with 108 gifted state assets, out of the same, 58 gifted state assets were retained by him.

He did not deposit the gifted state assets in Toshakhana for fair price assessment in contravention of rules and subsequently retained said gifted state items worth millions of rupees, NAB said.

The gifted state assets were retained without fair price assessment, NAB said, adding that, Imran sold/misappropriated some of the gifted state assets for personal benefit.

The NAB said that investigation proceedings further revealed that Bushra being the wife of ex-PM, received gifts from foreign dignitaries amounting to millions of rupees and retained these gifts against a meagre retention cost based on under value assessment/appraisement.

- Buried by court cases -

Since being ousted in 2022, Khan has been buried by court cases he claims have been triggered to prevent his return to office after a campaign of defiance against Pakistan's military kingmakers.

The 71-year-old had accused the powerful military -- with whom he ruled in partnership for much of his tenure -- of orchestrating his ouster in a US-backed conspiracy.

When Khan was first arrested in May last year, riots broke out across the country.

But his street power was killed by a military crackdown that saw thousands of supporters detained -- 100 of whom are facing closed-door military trials -- and dozens of senior leaders forced underground.

"You have to take revenge for every injustice with your vote on February 8," Khan said in a statement posted on his X profile reacting to his 10-year sentence on Tuesday.

"Tell them that we are not sheep that can be driven with a stick."

As a result of the ongoing crackdown, PTI has moved most of its campaigning online, where it has been bogged down by state-imposed internet blackouts.

The party founded by former cricket star Khan has also been stripped of its cricket bat election symbol -- in a nation where literacy lags, making icons vital for identifying candidates on ballot papers.

Nawaz Sharif -- head of one of the two dynastic parties that have historically helmed Pakistan -- has returned from self-imposed exile and seen his myriad convictions dissolve in the courts.

Analysts say it is a sign the three-time former prime minister is the favoured candidate of the military, which has directly ruled Pakistan for just under half its history.


Reporters Babar Shahzad Turk and Hashir Ahsan Warraich


News Desk


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