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Former Pakistan PM jailed for 10 years

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Who is Imran Khan? The former leader of Pakistan was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment this week for leaking official documents.
Who is Imran Khan?

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for leaking official documents.

Khan, who is currently serving a three-year sentence for corruption, was Pakistan’s PM from 2018 to 2022 until he was stood down by a vote of no-confidence from his government.

Khan’s latest conviction comes a week out from an election, for which he was ineligible to run.

Khan and his allies say the charges are politically motivated. His legal team plans to appeal the verdict.

Who is Imran Khan?

Before becoming PM, Khan was a famous cricketer. He captained the Pakistan team that won the 1992 World Cup.

Khan’s time in office was marked by economic instability, tension with the military, and corruption allegations.

In April 2022, he was removed from office by a vote in parliament. He claimed there had been a U.S.-backed “conspiracy” to remove him. The U.S. Government has vehemently denied playing a role in Khan’s removal.

Protests

Khan’s removal was followed by months of protests by his supporters and public statements by Khan denouncing his political enemies.

The new government, led by PM Shehbaz Sharif, has responded with over 100 charges against Khan, including corruption and inciting terrorism.

Many prominent supporters have also been arrested or intimidated, and TV journalists say they have been prevented from using Khan’s name.

Khan’s latest conviction

This week’s conviction relates to accusations Khan leaked a confidential memo from Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S., which contained state secrets. Khan denies the charges.

A 10-year prison sentence was also handed to Khan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Khan’s lawyer Salman Safder condemned the verdict, calling it “unfair, unconstitutional [and] illegal”. He also criticised the closed-door nature of the trial.

What happens next?

Safder was confident an appeal would lead to Khan’s convictions being quashed.

Khan said the case against him was “built on lies, bullying, conspiracy and deceit” via a statement posted to social media.

Pakistanis will go to an election on 8 February. Khan urged his supporters to use their vote to peacefully “take revenge for every injustice”.

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