Islamabad: The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has been handed a three-year prison sentence by a Pakistani trial court for the unlawful sale of state gifts. This development, reported by local media outlets on Saturday, led to his subsequent arrest in Lahore. Legal analysts speculate that a conviction in this case could effectively eliminate Khan’s eligibility to participate in the upcoming national elections scheduled before early November.
The Islamabad-based district and sessions judge, Additional Judge Humayun Dilawar, also imposed a fine of Rs 100,000 on Khan. Furthermore, the judge specified that if Khan fails to pay the fine, an additional six months of imprisonment will be imposed.
The case against Khan pertains to the Toshakhana case, which was initiated last year following a complaint by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Notably, Khan had previously been disqualified by the ECP in the same case. The verdict arrived a day after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) overturned a session court’s ruling and affirmed the maintainability of the Toshakhana case for criminal proceedings against Khan. The IHC also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Imran Khan, with the provision that his failure to pay the fine would result in an extension of his prison term by an additional six months.
The Toshakhana controversy revolves around the sale of state gifts that were bestowed upon the former cricketer-turned-politician. This issue gained significant prominence within the national political landscape after Khan’s disqualification by the ECP on October 21, 2022, due to “false statements and incorrect declarations.”
Toshakhana serves as a department under the Cabinet Division responsible for storing gifts presented to government officials and rulers by foreign heads of state and dignitaries. Khan had acquired and subsequently sold some of these gifts, including a valuable watch, for personal gain.