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Wife Of Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan Moved To Jail

Khan, who was also jailed for leaking state secrets, says the cases were designed to keep him from contesting.


Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi are covered with a white sheet as they arrive to appear at the High Court in Lahore, Pakistan, May 15, 2023. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

 

The wife of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was moved Wednesday from house arrest to the same jail as her husband, lawyers said, where the pair will serve matching prison terms for illegal marriage.

Khan’s party has been targeted with a sweeping crackdown since nationwide protests erupted over his arrest on May 9 last year, which saw unprecedented anger directed at the military.

Bushra Bibi, 49, and Khan, 71, were both convicted of corruption and breaking Islamic marriage laws in the lead up to February’s general election, which saw military-backed parties come to power.

Khan, who was also jailed for leaking state secrets, says the cases were designed to keep him from contesting.

“She has already been shifted to a female ward of the jail on her own request,” Intazar Hussain Panjutha, a lawyer for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, told AFP.

She had been held at the home she shared with Khan — declared a sub-jail — on the outskirts of the capital for the past three months.

Khan is also serving a concurrent 10-year term for leaking state secrets.

The divorced mother met Khan when he approached her for spiritual guidance and appear in public wearing a face-covering hijab.

She had made repeated requests to be “treated as a commoner” and taken to the prison, a spokesman for the party said.

 First anniversary

The couple married just months before Khan was elected prime minister.

He was booted from power in April 2022 by a no-confidence vote after analysts said he fell out with the country’s influential generals.

He went on to wage a defiant campaign against the establishment which culminated in thousands of supporters pouring onto the streets on May 9 when he was first arrested.

Army installations and government property were targeted in a public display of anger against the military that is rarely seen in Pakistan.

Thousands of supporters were detained and dozens of party leaders rounded up, decimating Khan’s once unstoppable street power.

PTI said the first anniversary of the mass arrests on Thursday would be marked by rallies.

Just days before the national election, the pair were sentenced to seven years in prison for marrying too soon after her divorce in contradiction of Islamic law.

They had already been jailed for 14 years for corruption involving gifts he received while premier. The sentence was later suspended but the conviction still stands.

Despite the crackdown, PTI rattled the establishment by winning the most seats in February’s election but kept from power by a coalition of usually feuding parties.

AFP