Cricket Icon Hit With Second Prison Sentence in 2 Days Ahead of Election

Mohsin Raza/Reuters
Mohsin Raza/Reuters

Pakistan’s jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been sentenced to 14 years in prison, his party said Wednesday, the day after he was given a 10-year sentence in a separate case.

The cricket legend’s wife, Bushra Bibi, was also found guilty by the National Accountability Bureau in the case relating to the illegal sale of state gifts during Khan’s time leading the country between 2018 and 2022. The ruling bars Khan from holding public office for 10 years, according to his PTI party.

Cricket Icon Jailed for 10 Years in ‘Sham Trial’ Before Pakistan Election

The latest verdict against Khan—who was removed from power by political opponents two years ago—comes a week before a general election in which he is already prohibited from running. The cricket legend was sentenced to a decade behind bars on Tuesday over allegations that he leaked state secrets by waving a document at a rally that he claimed provided evidence that a U.S. conspiracy was behind his downfall (Washington has denied his claim).

He and his followers say the recent legal proceedings against him are politically motivated. “Another sad day in our judicial system history, which is being dismantled,” a spokesperson for his party said. “This ridiculous decision will also be challenged.”

Khan and his wife were accused of selling gifts worth more than $500,000 during his time in office, with the items allegedly including six Rolex watches, perfumes, and diamond jewelry. Khan’s aides were alleged to have sold the items in Dubai.

In addition to this week’s sentences, Khan was also given a three-year sentence in August in the same case by a different court, though that ruling was later suspended. At the time, he was also given a five-year ban from holding office, which made him ineligible to run in the Feb. 8 elections. The latest ruling means he will not be able to hold office until he is 81.

The election comes amid a crackdown on Khan’s party and its supporters. The PTI is currently banned from holding public rallies and multiple party members have been arrested while attempting to campaign ahead of the ballot.

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