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Pakistan’s Imran Khan Sentenced to Three Years in Prison, Arrested

Former prime minister calls for protests after court finds him guilty of selling state gifts received during visits abroad.

Police have arrested Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan in the eastern city of Lahore after a court sentenced him to three years in prison for illegally selling state gifts.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his premiership from 2018 to 2022 to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than 140 million Pakistani rupees ($497,500).

“His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” judge Humayun Dilawar wrote in the ruling. “He has been found guilty of corrupt practices by hiding the benefits he accrued from national exchequer wilfully and intentionally.”

The verdict includes a 100,000-rupee fine ($355) which, if not paid, could amount to a further six months in jail.

Khan’s lawyer Intezar Panjotha said police arrested Khan at his residence in Lahore. Pakistani media described police surrounding his home after the verdict was released.

“We are filing a petition against the decision in high court,” Panjotha added.

In a video recorded before his arrest and posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Khan called on his supporters to take to the streets in protest.

“I only have one request, one appeal for you. You must not sit quietly inside your homes. The struggle I am doing is not for my own self, it’s for my nation, for you. For the future of your children,” he said.

“If you don’t stand up for your rights, you will live lives of slaves and slaves don’t have a life.”

In the post, Khan made reference to the “London Plan”, a term he uses to refer to an alleged plot between current army chief General Asim Munir and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been in London since 2019 in self-exile, to oust him from politics. He has yet to provide evidence of its existence.

Source : Aljazeera