Islamabad | A Pakistan court on Saturday sentenced jailed former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi to seven years imprisonment in the ‘un-Islamic nikah' case, less than a week before the general elections.
This is 71-year-old Khan's fourth conviction since 2022 adding to the troubles of the beleaguered founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party ahead of the February 8 polls.
Bibi's first husband, Khawar Maneka, had filed the case, alleging that she violated the Islamic practice of observing the mandatory pause or Iddat between two marriages.
Maneka also accused his ex-wife and Khan of being in an adulterous relationship before marriage, a crime punishable by death by stoning.
“The verdict was pronounced by Senior Civil Judge Qudratullah today, a day after the hearing of the case was conducted inside the Adiala Jail premises at Rawalpindi for 14 hours on Friday,” Geo News said and added that Qudratullah also slapped fines of Rs 5,00,000 each on the couple.
Both Khan and Bushra were present in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.
Earlier this week, Khan, 71, was sentenced to 10 years in the cipher case and 14 years in the Toshakhana case.
Arrested on August 5 last year, when he was found guilty in the Toshakhana corruption case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Khan has since been imprisoned - first in the Attock Jail and later shifted to the Adiala Jail.
Following his conviction in what has come to be known as the Iddat case, Khan told court reporters that the case against him was created to “humiliate and disgrace” both him and his spouse, Bushra Bibi.
“This marks the first instance in history where a case related to Iddat has been initiated,” Dawn.com quoted Khan as saying and added that he said, it was also the first time that someone was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in a Toshakhana corruption case.
On Friday, the cross-examination of the four prosecution witnesses was completed, while Khan and Bibi, 49, submitted a joint statement, answering 13 questions. The court rejected the defence's request to produce additional witnesses. A plea of acquittal and jurisdictional pleas were also rejected.
“So far, cross-examination of the statements given by the four witnesses in the case has been completed. The statements of Khan and Bushra under section 342 have also been recorded (before the verdict was pronounced),” Geo News added.
Bibi declared the divorce certificate of November 14, 2017, as fabricated, claiming she completed her mandatory iddat period from April to August 2017 after receiving a verbal triple talaq (divorce) from Maneka in April 2017.
The marriage with Khan was solemnised on January 1, 2018, and Bibi reportedly exercised a lot of influence on the former premier during his days in office.
She was supposedly a faith healer and the cricketer-turned-politician used to visit her for spiritual solace before the two developed a liking that ended in their marriage.
Khan has already faced three convictions since 2022 when he was ousted from power. He was arrested on August 5 when he was found guilty in the Toshakhana corruption case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Since then he has been imprisoned - first in the Attock Jail and later shifted to the Adiala Jail.
Khan and his wife were sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday in a corruption case for retaining expensive state gifts when he was in power.