Jailed Pakistani former Prime Minister Imran Khan and wife convicted for ‘fraudulent marriage’

By Sophia Saifi and Azaz Syed, CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan CNN  —  Jailed Pakistani former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have been sentenced to seven years in prison after a district court ruled their 2018 marriage violated the law.

This is the third sentence for Khan and the second for his wife this week.

A short order issued by the court and obtained by CNN states that both respondents were found guilty of “a marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage.”

Bibi’s former husband, Khawar Farid Maneka, had filed a case against Khan and Bibi almost six years after his divorce and accused them of marrying without completing the Iddat — a compulsory waiting period in Islam after divorce — and committing adultery.

Bushra Bibi (center), wife of Imran Khan, leaves after a hearing of the bail case of Khan, at the High Court in Islamabad, Pakistan, in October 2023.

The conviction was by a district court in Adiala Jail in the city of Rawalpindi where Imran Khan – who has been imprisoned since August on various charges – is currently incarcerated. Proceedings were held in the jail due to security reasons.

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) released a statement condemning the judgment calling it “a mockery of the law.”

PTI spokesperson Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari told journalists that he was a witness to the marriage ceremony in 2018 and called the judgement “a victory for Imran Khan. Shows everything else is also false on him hence such ridiculous cases and sentences need to be slapped on him.”

This latest conviction adds to a myriad of recent legal woes for Khan.

His political party said Tuesday that he had been sentenced, along with former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to 10 years in prison for leaking state secrets.

Then, the following day, PTI said the former prime minister and his wife were each sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption relating to the unlawful sale of state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

It is unclear whether the sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently.

The judgements comes before Pakistan’s General Election on Thursday.

Khan is barred from contesting and cannot hold office for a decade, according to PTI.

The former star cricketer turned politician, who rose to power on a ticket of anti-corruption, was ousted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April 2022 after being embroiled in political controversy.

Pakistan’s upcoming election is seen by many analysts as one of the least credible in the country’s nearly 77-year history, owing to the military’s crackdown on Khan and his aides.

CNN’s Rhea Mogul contributed to this report.

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