(CTN NEWS) – Imran Khan, the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was arrested from his residence in Zaman Park, Lahore, shortly after being found guilty in the Toshakhana case on Saturday. He was taken to Islamabad, according to sources.
In a significant development, a district and sessions court in the federal capital convicted the former prime minister on charges of corrupt practices related to the state gift depository, despite his denial of the allegations.
The case accused Khan of misusing his premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession, which were received during his visits abroad and were valued at over 140 million Pakistani rupees ($635,000).
Additional and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar, while rejecting Khan’s petition to deem the case inadmissible, sentenced the 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician to three years in prison.
The judge stated in his judgment that charges of misdeclaration of assets had been proven against PTI’s chairman.
Consequently, Imran Khan received a three-year jail sentence and a fine of Rs100,000, and an arrest warrant was issued for his immediate detention.
In response to the verdict, Khan’s legal team expressed their intention to file an immediate appeal against the conviction.
Legal experts believe that a conviction, in this case, could potentially hamper Khan’s chances of participating in the upcoming national elections.
Imran Khan Convicted of Corrupt Practices in Toshakhana Case by ADSJ Dilawar
In his concise ruling, ADSJ Dilawar ruled that the application against the reference filed by the ECP was deemed maintainable.
He based this decision on the fact that there was no argument presented by the accused challenging the complaint’s maintainability, considering the earlier findings in the orders dated 05.05.2023 and 08.07.2023. As a result, the said application was dismissed.
Moreover, ADSJ Dilawar stated that the court found the arguments presented by the ECP to be “confidence-inspiring” and well-supported by evidence.
According to the court’s findings, the accused, Imran Khan, was successfully proven to have committed the offense of corrupt practices.
He made and published false statements and declarations regarding assets acquired as gifts from Toshakhana, which were then disposed of during the years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.
Additionally, he made and published a false statement and submitted an incorrect declaration in Form-8 for the year 2020-2021.
The order further revealed that Khan deliberately and intentionally concealed the benefits he received from the national exchequer.
His actions were deemed dishonest, as he provided false information about the gifts obtained from Toshakhana, and this dishonesty was established without any doubt.
Based on the conviction under section 174 of The Election Act 2017, the judge sentenced the PTI chairman to three years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs.100,000.
In the past, the former prime minister had challenged the allegations in the Toshakhana case at various forums, including the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The trial court had summoned Khan in his personal capacity on Saturday for a hearing related to the Toshakhana case after the IHC had dismissed his pleas contesting the maintainability order.
On Friday, the IHC also rejected Khan’s request to transfer the case to another court, directing Judge Dilawar to continue hearing the case.
Imran Khan Urges Supporters to Protest Peacefully in Video Message from Lahore Home
Khan’s party released a video message featuring him seated behind a desk in his Lahore home, with the Pakistani and PTI flags in the background. The timing of the recording was not immediately clear.
Addressing his supporters, he acknowledged that he would likely be in jail by the time they received the message and urged them not to remain silent at home.
He emphasized that his actions were not for personal freedom but for the betterment of the nation and the future of their children. Khan urged the people to stand up for their rights and not live as slaves, as slaves have no real life.
Encouraging peaceful protests, he called for the public to demand their rights, including a government of their choice through fair voting, rather than one imposed upon them like the current occupying power.
Pakistan has witnessed several instances of former prime ministers being arrested over the years, often involving interventions by the powerful military. Khan now becomes the seventh former prime minister to face arrest in Pakistan.
Notably, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was arrested and later executed in 1979, while Nawaz Sharif, the brother of the current prime minister, also faced multiple arrests on corruption allegations during his tenure as prime minister.
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