An Islamabad anti-corruption court sentenced former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi to 14 years in prison for swindling expensive presents from foreign heads of state. Additionally, the pair received a ten-year ban from holding any public office.
The decision was made public on Wednesday, one week before of the national elections and one day after Khan was found guilty of disclosing state secrets in a different case. According to Khan’s legal team, Bushra Bibi would turn himself in at the jail following the punishment and they would contest the “predetermined” and “ridiculous” ruling.
Members of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of opposition parties, filed the complaint, also referred to as the Toshakhana reference case, in August 2022. They charged Khan of neglecting to reveal the specifics of the presents he received from different heads of state and placed in the Toshakhana, a repository designated for storing such items. They further said that Khan made money off of the presents by selling them, which included seven wristwatches valued at Rs 96.6 million.
The Toshakhana regulations provide that if the beneficiaries of the presents wish to keep them, they must disclose them to the Cabinet Division and pay a specific proportion of their value. If not, the gifts go up for auction or are on display in museums. Khan stated that he received the presents lawfully and utilized the money raised from their sale to fund public projects and investments.
Nonetheless, under Article 63 (1) (p) of the Constitution, the court held Khan guilty of charges involving dishonest behavior, falsified facts, and false assertions. Additionally, it mandated that the reference be delivered to the trial court so that criminal proceedings may begin.