Imran Khan, the ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan, has been arrested and sentenced to three years in prison in the Toshakhana case. He was imprisoned after being found guilty by an Islamabad court of concealing income obtained from the sale of state gifts. Khan, who vehemently denies the allegations, has declared his intention to appeal the verdict.
The court’s ruling led to Khan’s immediate arrest, with authorities taking him into custody from his residence in Lahore. Khan, a former cricket superstar, rose to power in 2018 but was removed through a no-confidence vote the following year.
Upon the announcement of the verdict, a crowd gathered outside the courthouse, comprised of both supporters and detractors. Notably, some members of the prosecuting legal team joined in chanting slogans, branding Khan as a “thief.”
This marks a new chapter in Khan’s legal battles. In May, he was arrested for his failure to appear in court as required, a detention that was later deemed illegal, resulting in his release. Since then, his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has faced increasing pressure from governmental authorities. The departure of several high-ranking officials and the apprehension of numerous PTI supporters allegedly linked to post-arrest protests have further strained the party.
In a bid to challenge the Islamabad High Court’s ruling regarding the Toshakhana case against Khan, PTI’s legal team has approached the Supreme Court. While the high court rejected Khan’s request to transfer the case to a different court, it granted temporary relief by affirming the sessions court’s decision on the case’s maintainability.
Advocate Khawaja Haris, Khan’s lawyer, has filed a formal application in the Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the IHC’s decision. Khan’s legal team contends that the trial judge’s hastened declaration of the Toshakhana case’s maintainability raises concerns about due process. They further assert that the IHC’s decision to return the case to the same judge compromises the appearance of impartiality.
This legal maneuvering underscores the uncertainty surrounding the proceedings. The case has captured the nation’s attention, potentially reshaping Pakistan’s political landscape as Khan’s conviction and subsequent legal battles unfold.
As the nation awaits the next steps, questions regarding the trial’s fairness and its implications for Pakistan’s political future dominate public discourse, both within the country and abroad.