In a significant legal development, former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife face a 14-year prison sentence and a 10-year ban from public office in connection with the Toshakhana corruption case. The verdict, issued by an anti-graft court in Islamabad, accuses the couple of illegal dealings involving state gifts during Imran Khan’s tenure as prime minister. The ruling also includes a hefty fine of ₹787 million each.
The corruption case revolves around the alleged retention of expensive state gifts by Imran Khan, a violation of Toshakhana rules. The rules permit government officials to keep gifts from the state treasury, but they must be deposited first, and officials are required to pay a specified price for them. The Toshakhana department, under the Cabinet Division, manages gifts received by public officials.
According to the Toshakhana rules, Prime Ministers and Presidents can retain gifts valued at less than PKR 30,000, paying a percentage of the gift’s value. Imran Khan updated the payment percentage to 50% in 2018. The controversy surfaced when the coalition government formed under Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) filed a case against Khan in August 2022, alleging non-disclosure of information about gifts and the “illegal” sale of certain items.
Imran Khan resisted disclosing gifts during his tenure, citing potential negative impacts on foreign relations. In 2018, he admitted to selling at least four presents but maintained that he purchased them by paying a percentage of the price to the government.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) initially found Khan’s sale of items legal, as he had paid for them. However, they barred him from holding public office for four years, accusing him of unethical behavior and making false assertions and declarations.
The gifts involved in the case include expensive cufflinks, Rolex watches, a ring, and a valuable pen. The sentencing of Imran Khan and his wife marks a critical development in Pakistan’s political landscape, raising questions about corruption allegations and legal proceedings against high-profile figures.
Imran Khan’s media team expressed discontent with the court’s decision, criticizing the judicial process and indicating their intention to challenge the verdict. The case adds to the complexities surrounding political and legal issues in Pakistan, contributing to the ongoing discourse on accountability and transparency in governance.
Sources By Agencies