• Saturday, June 22, 2024


Imran Khan gets bail, but to remain in prison

The former Pakistan prime minister was indicted on charges that he and his wife were gifted land by a real estate developer in exchange for illegal favours

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan (REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/File Photo)

By: Shajil Kumar

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was granted bail in Islamabad on Wednesday on land corruption charges but will have to stay in jail to serve time in two other cases, his lawyer said.

The former cricket superstar was indicted last week on charges that he and his wife were gifted land by a real estate developer when Khan was prime minister from 2018-22 in exchange for illegal favours.

Khan, who denies wrongdoing, had filed a bail application before Islamabad High Court.

His party lawyer, Naeem Haider Panjutha, confirmed the granting of bail on social media platform X but said Khan remained in custody after two convictions – one involving the leaking of state secrets and the other his marriage violating Islamic law.

Khan, 71, has been in jail since August last year. In total, he has been convicted in four cases, but sentences in two cases have been suspended.

Khan is named in dozens of cases, including charges of inciting violence against the state in the aftermath of his removal from office in 2022 in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence.

His wife, Bushra Bibi, is also in jail serving time in a case related to unlawfully marrying Khan in 2018.

The case in which Khan was granted bail on Wednesday involves the Al-Qadir Trust, a non-governmental welfare organisation set up by Khan and wife when he was still in office.

Prosecutors say the trust was a front for the former premier to receive land as a bribe from a real estate developer. The land includes 60 acres (24 hectares) near Islamabad and another large plot close to Khan’s hilltop mansion in the capital.

In a statement following the bail, Khan’s media team said the land was not for personal gain and Khan had set up a “religious and scientific” educational institution.

It added that the cases were filed to keep Khan in prison and prevent him from participating the February 8 national elections.

Khan faced a string of convictions in the lead-up to the elections but his party-backed candidates still won the most seats. They did not have the numbers to form a government, which was led by an alliance of his rivals led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. (Reuters)

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