Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Asif Hassan | Afp | Getty Images

Pakistan’s embattled former Prime Minister Imran Khan was hit with a fresh 14-year jail sentence on Wednesday after a state court found him guilty of graft, just one day after being handed a 10-year term on a conviction of leaking state secrets.

His wife Bushra Bibi was also sentenced to a 14-year jail term for graft; the case implicating the couple involved the illegal sale of state gifts for profit while Khan was in office.

“Another sad day in our judicial system history, which is being dismantled,” a spokesperson for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the largest political party in the country, said in a statement.

Khan is also barred from serving in office for 10 years as part of his punishment handed down by the state’s National Accountability Bureau, which additionally imposed a fine of 1.5 billion Pakistani rupees ($5.3 million) on the former leader and his wife. Previously, many political analysts saw him as the likely winner of Pakistan’s upcoming general election on Feb. 8.

A towering figure in Pakistani politics for decades, Khan — along with his supporters — says the charges and arrests are politically motivated. It is not clear whether the 10 and 14-year-sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently, though some media reports say the terms will be concurrent.

Security in Pakistan requires a 'regional approach,' caretaker PM says

Formerly the captain of Pakistan’s national cricket team, the politician, now 71, became prime minister in 2018 before being removed from office on corruption charges in 2022 and arrested in 2023. He had already been serving a three-year jail term on a corruption conviction.

In a post on his X profile, formerly Twitter, Khan encouraged his supporters to go to the polls for the General Election, writing: “My Pakistanis! This is your war and this is your test that you have to take revenge for every injustice by your vote on February 8 while remaining peaceful. Innocent Pakistanis imprisoned in jails for the last 8 months will get justice and release now only with your vote.”

He added: “You will come out in millions on election day and defeat the planners … and tell them that we are no sheep that can be driven with a stick.”

The former prime minister and his supporters said in 2022 that his ousting was a conspiracy planned by the subsequent Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the United States, the latter of which has a long and complicated relationship with the Pakistani government. Khan’s supporters say the tensions began when the former leader began openly criticizing Pakistan’s powerful army, and that Washington also wanted to see Khan, who has long been critical of the U.S., removed.

Sharif and the Biden administration deny the accusations. Khan later in 2022 appeared to shift his rhetoric on the U.S., expressing a desire to have a positive relationship with the superpower were he to be re-elected.

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