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Pakistan ex-PM given three-year jail sentence over corruption

By Aoife Wals, BBC

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been given three-year jail sentence over corruption allegations.

A court in Islamabad found him guilty of not declaring money he had earned from selling state gifts. He denies the charges and says he will appeal.

After the verdict, Mr Khan was taken into custody from his home in Lahore.

Mr Khan was elected in 2018, but was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year after falling out with the powerful military. The court also imposed a fine of 100,000 rupees ($451).

As the court decision was announced a crowd, which included some prosecuting lawyers, began chanting “Imran Khan is a thief” outside the building.

Mr Khan is facing more than 100 cases brought against him since being ousted in April 2022- charges he says are politically motivated.

For months he had avoided arrest, with his supporters at times fighting pitched battles with police to keep him out of custody.

In May, Mr Khan was arrested for not appearing at court as requested. He was then released, with the arrest declared illegal. Since then, his party, Tehreek-e-Insaf, has been under intense pressure from the authorities.

Many senior officials have left and thousands of supporters have been arrested, accused of being involved in the protests that followed Mr Khan’s arrest.

Pakistan’s army plays a prominent role in politics, sometimes seizing power in military coups, and, on other occasions, pulling levers behind the scenes.

Many analysts believe Mr Khan’s election win in 2018 happened with the help of the military.

In opposition, he has been one of its most vocal critics, and analysts say the army’s popularity has fallen.

Since being ousted, Mr Khan has been campaigning for early elections. Conviction would disqualify Mr Khan from standing for office, possibly for life.

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