South Asia

Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan and wife jailed for 7 years for unlawful marriage

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Khan were sentenced to seven years in prison and fined on Saturday by a court that ruled their 2018 marriage violated the law, his party said.

It was the third adverse ruling against the embattled former prime minister this week and comes ahead of national elections on Thursday that he is barred from contesting.

The two were each fined 500,000 rupees ($1,800), ARY News reported.

People on the street said the verdict was politically motivated to corner Khan’s party ahead of the elections.

Bushra was accused of not completing the waiting period mandated by Islam, called “Iddat,” after divorcing her previous husband and marrying Khan.

The Khans signed their marriage contract, called a “Nikkah,” in January 2018 in a secret ceremony seven months before the charismatic former cricket superstar became prime minister for the first time.

There was controversy over whether they had wed before the period was complete. After initial denials of the January marriage, PTI confirmed it weeks later.

The Khans both denied any wrongdoing.

Khan is in prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, while his wife had been allowed to serve her sentence at their hilltop mansion in Islamabad.

He already faces a 10-year disqualification from holding public office. It was not immediately clear if the sentences would run concurrently or sequentially.