Pakistan court suspends three-year conviction of Former Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan
A two member High Court (IHC) in Islamabad, has determined that the conviction and the three year prison sentence in respect of corruption charges awarded against former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, should be suspended. The judges accepted the argument of Khan’s legal team, that he had been convicted without being given the chance to present a defense.
The conviction, which saw Khan jailed at the beginning of August (5th), was in respect of charges brought against him for not declaring details of assets that he obtained from the sale of gifts received from foreign governments and dignitaries during his term in office as Prime Minister between 2018 and 2022. The ruling does not however provide Khan with an acquittal on the charges and he is expected to have to appeal to the supreme court to achieve such a result.
Khan's supporters gather outside Attock Prison anticipating his release, but face disappointment
Crucially, supporters gathered outside Attock prison, in the Punjab district, where he has been held, anticipating his freedom after the judge ordered his release on bail. But before he was able to be discharged, news suddenly came in, that another judge from a court established under the official secrets act had directed the jail authority not to release the former Prime Minister, Imran Khan. The judge’s request stated that Khan was wanted in respect of an investigation into a diplomatic document that had gone missing while it was in Imran Khan’s possession and a request was made that he be presented before another court the following day, on 30th August.
Imran Khan faces more than 100 other charges
Notwithstanding the successful appeal against the recent three year conviction, Imran Khan still faces over 100 other indictments, in respect of which his lawyers have yet to address an appeal court in order to obtain a repeal or setting aside of those charges. Some of those representations are expected to be made simultaneously in Islamabad, while Khan makes an appearance in the official secrets hearing tomorrow. Imran Khan has maintained that all of the charges are politically motivated and designed to prevent him from participating in the elections.
Speculation abounds as to whether he will be freed and allowed to participate in elections
Crucially, the August conviction of Imran Khan, had barred him from contesting elections originally scheduled to take place in December 2023, but now expected to be held in early 2024. Events in the next few days will determine whether Khan is actually released at this time and importantly, whether he will be clear to participate in the forthcoming elections.