Thursday, April 25, 2024

Court suspends jail term of Imran Khan, wife


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Islamabad, April 1: In a temporary relief to jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, a high court on Monday suspended the 14-year sentence handed out to him and his wife Bushra Bibi in the Toshakhana corruption case.
The beleaguered couple were sentenced to 14 years in jail each by an accountability court on January 31 for alleged corruption in state gifts they got from the state depository, days before the general elections.
According to the verdict, Khan and Bushra were barred from holding any public office for 10 years and slapped with a fine of Rs 787 million each.
They challenged the conviction in the Islamabad High Court where a two-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the case.
On Monday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) gave temporary relief to the couple in the case by suspending their sentences and granting them bail in the case.
However, the court announced that their appeals against the conviction would be heard after the Eid festival next month.
But Khan may not be released as he is convicted in other cases and cannot be released until absolved from charges in other cases. Similarly, Bushra is also convicted in another case and may not be released after her sentence has been suspended.
In the Toshakhana corruption case, the 71-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician is accused of retaining expensive state gifts they received during his tenure as Pakistan’s premier.
Under the rules governing Toshakhana – a Persian word meaning “treasure house” – government officials can keep gifts by paying a price for them but first the gift should be deposited. Khan and his wife either failed to deposit the gift or got it for a low price by allegedly using their authority.
The conviction of Khan in the Toshakhana case had come a day after he was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the cipher case on January 30. (PIT)
Earlier, he was also convicted in a different Toshakhana corruption case in August 2023, leading to his arrest.
The latest conviction was based on the charges of misusing his authority as prime minister to retain gifts he or his spouse got during his tenure. It was filed by the National Accountability Bureau.
The previous Toshakhana graft case was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the charges of hiring the sale of state gifts.
Khan so far has been convicted in four different cases since losing power in April 2022. He has got bail in both Toshakhana cases.
Following today’s hearing, Khan’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar said the IHC “delivered justice”, adding that the “scales of justice have started heading in the right direction”.
“The courts are standing upright for justice. The entire nation is standing with the courts,” he was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
He contended that there was “no evidence” behind the conviction and that the jail trial was “unlawful as our counsels were not allowed to appear”. “Our lawyers were made to leave the jail and were not allowed to cross-examine either,” the PTI lawyer said.
“Such cases are considered mistrial and unconstitutional in the history,” Zafar said. He asserted that Imran could not remain in custody in the Toshakhana reference anymore, terming the case “baseless”. PTI SH ZH AKJ


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