ISLAMABAD : A Pakistani court on Tuesday sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of his party deputies to 10 years in prison each, after finding them guilty of revealing official secrets.
According to Zulfiqar Bukhari, spokesman for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, the court announced the verdict at a prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Khan, who was ousted through a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April 2022, is currently serving a three-year prison sentence in a graft case.
The latest development comes ahead of the Feb. 8 parliamentary elections in Pakistan — a vote that Khan is barred from running in because of his previous criminal conviction.
Khan’s defense team is likely to appeal Tuesday’s ruling.
Although Khan will not be on the ballot for the Febuary election, he remains a potent political force because of his grassroots following and anti-establishment rhetoric. He says the legal cases against him were a plot to sideline him ahead of the vote.
Pakistan has seen violent demonstrations since after Khan’s May 2023 arrest. Authorities have cracked down on his supporters and party since then.
Pakistan’s independent human rights commission has said there is little chance of a free and fair parliamentary election next month because of “pre-poll rigging.” It also expressed concern about authorities rejecting the candidacies of Khan and senior figures from his party. (Agencies)