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Ex-PM Imran Khan's graft conviction suspended: lawyer


Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's recent conviction on corruption charges has been suspended, his lawyer says.

It is unclear whether this will lead to Khan's release from jail.

The 70-year-old former cricket hero has been at the centre of political turmoil in the crisis-ridden nuclear-armed state since his ouster in a parliamentary vote of confidence in April 2022.

Khan's relations with Pakistan's powerful generals have deteriorated badly over the past year.

Khan was imprisoned on August 5 after being sentenced to three years in jail for unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

As a result of the conviction, and with a national election expected in coming months, Pakistan's Election Commission also barred Khan from contesting elections for five years.

"The sentence has been suspended," Khan's lawyer Naeem Panjutha said on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, adding, "God be praised".

Khan's legal team lodged the appeal against his conviction on the grounds that he was convicted without being given the right to defend himself.

The court also ordered Khan's release on bail, another one of his lawyers, Shoaib Shaheen, told reporters outside the court.

But it remains uncertain whether he will be freed as there are court orders for his arrest in other cases.

Khan faces dozens of cases, including charges of abetment to murder, leaking state secrets, and orchestrating violent protests.

It is unclear how the ban on his contesting elections will be affected with the suspension of his sentence. National elections are due later this year, but they are likely to be delayed several months.

Babar Awan, another lawyer for Khan, said the court order meant he was entitled to lead his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

The suspension marks another win for Khan and comes a day after the Balochistan High Court dismissed sedition charges against him, saying they had been improperly filed.

With AP