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Imran, wife Bushra jailed for 14yrs in Toshakhana case

Former premier Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on Wednesday were sentenced to 14 years in jail in the Toshakhana reference.

Last month, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a fresh reference against the two in an accountability court for retaining a jewellery set received from Saudi crown prince against an undervalued assessment.

The verdict comes eight days before the February 8 general elections, which the PTI is contesting amid a state crackdown and without an electoral symbol, according to Dawn reports.

It also comes just a day after a special court established under the Official Secrets Act sentenced Imran and his foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to 10 years in prison for the breach of state secrets.

Imran and Bushra were also barred from holding any public office for 10 years and slapped with a fine of Rs787 million. While the PTI founder was presented during the hearing, his wife did not appear before the court.

The judge had already closed the right of cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses and asked Imran and his spouse to record their statements under Section 342 (power to examine the accused) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

A day ago, after the cipher case proceedings, Bushra Bibi recorded her statement in the Toshakhana case, though Imran could not. During that hearing, Imran’s legal team had requested the court to restore the right of cross-examination but was turned down by Judge Bashir.

Today, acco­u­ntability Judge Moham­mad Bashir conducted the hearing at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where the former premier is incarcerated.

After his attendance was marked, the court asked him about his statement, to which the former premier replied that it was in his room.

Journalist highlights conviction timing

Reacting to the verdict today, senior journalist Mazhar Abbas said that the timing of the conviction would be discussed in political circles. At the same time, he said he did not expect PTI workers or leaders to react to the conviction.

“The reaction to all of this would be important on February 8. Would they be demoralised and stay in their homes or would they come out politically charged?” he said while speaking to Geo News.

Commenting on the conduct of the PTI’s legal team, Abbas said that there appeared to be a “problem”. He highlighted how several PTI lawyers had come and go, but added that this could also be due to professional differences.

It should be noted that in a recent hearing, Imran had said his lawyers could not appear before the court as they were contesting the upcoming general elections.