In a significant legal development, a Rawalpindi court handed down a seven-year jail sentence to former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, in a case pertaining to their marriage during the latter’s Iddat period. The verdict, announced by Senior Civil Judge Qudratullah in a makeshift court at Adiala district jail, also included Rs500,000 fines for each of them. The couple was found guilty under Section 496 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), specifically addressing fraudulent marriage ceremonies without lawful marriage.
Legal nuances were highlighted in the written order, emphasizing that Section 496, a distinct offense from zina, deals with the fraudulent undertaking of a marriage ceremony, irrespective of the absence of a contracted marriage. The court declared that failure to pay the fines would result in an additional four months of imprisonment.
This ruling follows the recent sentencing of Imran and Bushra Bibi to 14 years in the Toshakhana case and a 10-year sentence in the cipher case, marking a tumultuous week for the political figures. The high-profile couple can appeal the decision in the high court, a course of action already considered by Imran Khan’s political party, PTI.
The charges were originally filed in November by Bushra Bibi’s ex-husband, Khawar Farid Maneka, under various PPC sections, including common intention (Section 34), fraudulent marriage (Section 496), and fornication (Section 496-B). However, the Islamabad High Court dropped the 496-B charge later on.
No deal Says Imran khan
Despite a brief pause in proceedings in January, the IHC refused to quash the case, maintaining that the charge had already been framed by the trial court. The IHC, while dropping the “illegitimate relations” charge, offered some relief to the couple.
More to read:I will not make a deal with anyone: Imran Khan
Imran Khan vehemently denied rumors of a deal involving the designation of his Banigala residence as a “sub-jail” for the former first lady, refuting any allegations of undue influence. Bushra Bibi, too, claimed indirect contact from the military establishment but described the initial dialogue as “futile,” choosing to avoid further engagement.
The recent verdict followed the court’s reservation of judgment after recording statements from both parties and witnesses, highlighting a contentious legal battle that has unfolded against a backdrop of political turmoil.