Imran Khan Faces 5-Year Political Ban Following Conviction, Party Vows to Defend Him

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has encountered a significant setback as he has been found guilty in the Toshakhana case and subsequently arrested. An Islamabad court has ruled that he is ineligible to participate in elections for the next five years. In response, his political party asserts that he was taken into custody by force and has lodged a formal appeal with the Lahore High Court.

Imran Khan is currently facing over 150 legal cases, with allegations ranging from corruption to charges of "terrorism" and incitement of violence related to the fatal protests that occurred in May. (Image: AP)

Imran Khan, a prominent figure both in politics and cricket, received an unexpected blow on Saturday when an Islamabad court sentenced him to three years in prison in connection with the Toshakhana case. This decision also bars him from holding any public office for the following five years. The 70-year-old leader was apprehended from his residence in Lahore's Zaman Park shortly after being convicted in a case involving state gifts.

Imran Khan has been transferred to Attock Jail in the city of Attock, according to his party spokesperson Zulifi Bokhari, as reported by the news agency PTI. His political party has called for "peaceful" protests in adherence to the law and Constitution.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by Imran Khan, has decried his sentencing and arrest as politically motivated. The party has declared its intention to contest the verdict and will employ "all legal avenues" to protect the former prime minister.

Key Developments in the Case:

Imran Khan was convicted in a prominent corruption case related to selling valuable state gifts while in office. Additional Judge Humayun Dilawar, based in Islamabad, determined that Khan provided false information (regarding Toshakhana gifts) to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and engaged in corrupt practices. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 100,000 and stipulated that if Khan fails to pay the fine, he would face an additional six months in jail.

Following his arrest, Imran Khan's political party promptly filed a petition with the Lahore High Court, describing his apprehension as an "abduction at gunpoint" carried out by Punjab police. The petitioner alleges that Khan is being unlawfully detained, asserting that he was taken into custody without being shown the court's conviction order related to the Toshakhana case.

Photo courtesy: AP

In reaction to Imran Khan's arrest, members of his party and his supporters took to the streets in protest. Approximately 67 PTI workers were reportedly detained by police from various locations across the country, as reported by The Express Tribune. The detentions took place outside Imran Khan's residence in Lahore.

Just a day before his arrest, Imran Khan released a video message on YouTube confidently predicting his party's success in the upcoming elections. He questioned how the party could be suppressed when its voter base was expanding. In a pre-recorded video released after his arrest, he stated that he had anticipated the situation and urged his supporters not to remain passive, but to stand up for their rights and freedom.

Pakistan's ruling alliance has expressed support for the court's ruling. Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that Imran Khan was incarcerated due to his lack of honesty and involvement in corruption. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari made a brief remark on Khan's conviction, noting that he has faced consequences for his actions, similar to what he has done to others.

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