Imran Khan, former Pakistan prime minister, was arrested today after a court sentenced him to three years in jail in a corruption case. An Islamabad trial court also barred him from participating in active politics for five year.
The 70-year-old politician, also a cricket legend, was found guilty of illegally selling gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his term as prime minister.
The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan’s aides sold them in Dubai.
Islamabad’s district and sessions court judge Humayun Dilawar announced the verdict in a surprise move on Saturday.
Mr Khan denies any wrongdoing and his legal team said they would be filing an immediate appeal.
“It’s important to mention there was no chance given to present witnesses, neither was time allotted to round up arguments,” a member of the team said.
Imran Khan’s tenure as prime minister was cut short when opponents won a no-confidence vote against him last year, which Khan alleges was passed with the help of the country’s powerful military. The military denies any role in the matter.
His targeting of the military has raised political temperatures, and his brief arrest in May on corruption charges sparked violent protests in the country.
Parliament is likely to be dissolved after it completes its term in the next two weeks, with national elections to be held by mid-November or earlier.