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Pakistan: Former PM Imran Khan Arrested, Sentenced to 3 Years' Jail in Corruption Case

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has been jailed for misdeclaration of Toshakhana gifts to the Election Commission.
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Islamabad/Lahore: In a fresh jolt to Imran Khan, police in Pakistan on Saturday arrested the embattled former Prime Minister after he was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison in a corruption case over the sale of expensive state gifts when he was in power.

Additional Judge Humayun Dilawar of the Islamabad-based district and sessions judge also imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on Khan, adding that the 70-year-old leader would be kept in jail for another six months if he failed to pay the fine.

"Charges of misdeclaration of assets have been proven against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman," the judge ruled.

 “Imran Khan deliberately submitted fake details (of Toshakhana gifts) to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and is found guilty of corrupt practices,” Justice Dilawar stated and sent the cricketer-turned-politician to jail for three years under Section 174 of the Election Act.

Dilawar also directed that a copy of the order should be sent to the Islamabad police chief for the execution of the court orders. The Islamabad inspector-general of police (IGP) was instructed to ensure the immediate implementation of arrest warrants.

Khan was later arrested from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore by the Islamabad police in coordination with the Punjab police after the court verdict, his family said.

Punjab Information Minister Amir Mir said in a statement that Khan is being taken to Islamabad by police.

Khan is being flown to Islamabad via helicopter, PTI's legal team said.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's special assistant Attaullah Tarar has confirmed the arrest of Khan. "It will be decided later whether he is to be kept at Adiala Jail Rawalpindi or elsewhere," he said while talking to reporters.

During Saturday's hearing — which commenced at 8:30 am — the judge repeatedly expressed displeasure over the absence of Imran’s lawyers.

He, however, gave multiple chances to the defence counsel to appear in court, media reports said.

Justice Dilawar wanted arguments on the maintainability of the case.

Neither the defendant nor his senior counsel appeared. The PTI chief's junior counsel informed the court that the latter had an appearance before another court.

The court took three recesses before announcing the verdict at around noon.

This is for the second time in three months that Khan has been arrested. 

Unlike previous instances, Khan was detained on Saturday without any major resistance.

He was arrested on May 9 in Islamabad from the high court’s premises in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case, sparking violent protests by his supporters.

Khan has been slapped with more than 150 legal cases, including several on charges of corruption, terrorism and inciting people to violence over deadly protests.

Khan was indicted in the Toshakhana case in May, which was filed last year on the complaint of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which had earlier disqualified him in the same case.

The verdict came a day after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) set aside a session court’s verdict to uphold the maintainability of the Toshakhana case for criminal proceedings against Khan.

The Toshakhana issue over the sale of state gifts received by Khan became a major issue in national politics after the ECP disqualified Khan on October 21, 2022, for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

The Toshakhana is a department under the Cabinet Division that stores gifts given to rulers and government officials by heads of other governments and foreign dignitaries. Khan bought some of the gifts, including a precious watch, and sold the same for profit.

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