Pakistan’s former premier Khan convicted of marriage law violation in a fourth case

International

A Pakistani court on Saturday convicted and sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife to seven years in prison on a charge that their 2018 marriage violated the law, officials and a lawyer said.

The latest verdict follows another case in which Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday for corruption. It comes ahead of Feb. 8 parliamentary elections in which Khan has already been disqualified because of graft convictions while his party is struggling to run an election campaign.

It was Khan’s fourth conviction since 2022, when he was ousted from power. His sentences total 34 years and will be served concurrently.

Analysts say Khan’s multiple and apparently hasty convictions are seen by his party and supporters as punishment for his rhetoric against Pakistan’s powerful military leadership, which has ruled the country for half of its 76-year history. During his final months in power, Khan had broadened his fight with opponents to include the military.

The lawyer for the couple, Intisar Panjutha, said the verdict was announced by Judge Qudrat Ullah a day after the trial ended. Khan and his family insist the trial is politically motivated.

The prosecution said Khan and his wife violated the law that a woman must wait three months before marrying again.

Bibi, Khan’s third wife, was a spiritual healer who was previously married to a man who claimed that they divorced in November 2017, less than three months before she married Khan. Bibi has said they divorced in August 2017.

She and Khan, who had been married twice before, denied they violated the three-month waiting period — a requirement of Islamic law and upheld by Pakistan.

The ruling was condemned by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Its head, Gohar Khan, told reporters that Khan will appeal. “This is a bogus case against Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi, but still they were given maximum prison sentence by the court,” he said.

The couple were also fined 500,000 rupees ($1,800) each. Khan is currently serving multiple prison terms at Adiala prison in Rawalpindi, where his trials were held because of security concerns.

He is embroiled in more than 150 legal cases, including inciting people to violence after his arrest in May 2023. During nationwide riots in May, Khan’s supporters attacked the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, stormed an air base in Mianwali in the eastern Punjab province and torched a building housing state-run Radio Pakistan in the northwest.

The violence subsided only when Khan was released at the time by the Supreme Court.

Khan and Bibi also face another graft case, allegedly involving giving undue benefits to a property tycoon in return for establishing an Islamic university.

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Nicholas C. Minshew - Minshew & Ahluwalia LLP

<Nicholas C. Minshew, Attorney at Law, concentrates his practice in the area of Family Law including divorce, separation, child support, child custody, alimony, division of property, separation agreements, domestic violence, prenuptial agreements, and child support enforcement & modification. Mr. Minshew provides legal services to clients in Washington, D.C., and throughout Maryland, including Montgomery County, Frederick County, and Prince George’s County.

Mr. Minshew obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from the American University, Washington College of Law in 2000, where he worked as an editor for the Administrative Law Review. After receiving his law degree, Mr. Minshew worked as an attorney for the global law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and for Leonard Street & Deinard LLP representing companies in Federal proceedings. During that time, Mr. Minshew redirected his focus to provide legal services directly to individuals and families.

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