Imran Khan, founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and his spouse Bushra Bibi have faced an escalation in legal challenges as an accountability court sentenced them to 14 years in prison with rigorous punishment in the Toshakhana reference.
The court presided over by Judge Muhammad Bashir, also imposed a fine of Rs1.57 billion on the couple and disqualified Imran Khan from holding public office for 10 years.
The case revolves around the alleged undervaluation and sale of gifts received during Khan’s prime ministership.
During a previous hearing at Adiala jail, Bushra Bibi’s statement was recorded under Section 342, where Khan asserted that his wife was unjustly implicated.
The recent verdict prompted Bushra Bibi to surrender to authorities at Adiala jail after she was not present in court during the announcement.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the Toshakhana reference against the couple, focusing on a jewelry set worth Rs1.57 billion. Khan and Bushra had allegedly undervalued the set, fixing its price through a private firm and only paying Rs 9 million.
PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan denounced the verdict as “cruel” and stated their intention to challenge it in the high court. He argued that the decision was unprecedented, suggesting a biased motive against political figures. Gohar emphasized that Bushra Bibi had no personal involvement in the case and expressed hope for justice from the superior courts.
In a related development, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) deemed the notification of Imran Khan’s jail trial in Toshakhana and a £190 million settlement case as valid.
The court rejected Khan’s petitions against the jail trial and objections to the accountability judge’s appointment. The IHC justified the jail trial citing threats to Khan’s life, dismissing claims of malice.
The Toshakhana case has been under scrutiny for alleged misuse of power, with Khan accused of buying and selling state gifts at undervalued rates during his tenure.
The case timeline includes disqualification by the Election Commission, subsequent legal proceedings, and the recent indictment leading to the sentencing of Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi.