Imran Khan latest news: is former Prime Minster of Pakistan and PTI leader going to jail - who is he?

Imran Khan in 2019 (Photo: Parker Song-Pool/Getty Images)Imran Khan in 2019 (Photo: Parker Song-Pool/Getty Images)
Imran Khan in 2019 (Photo: Parker Song-Pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The former Prime Minister of Pakistan has been sentenced to three years in prison for alleged corruption

Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, has been sentenced to three years in prison for alleged corruption. He was found guilty of not disclosing the money he received from the sale of state gifts by an Islamabad court.

Khan has been taken into custody from his house in Lahore, according to the counsel for the former PM, Intazar Hussain, who said the judge had ordered his immediate arrest. His team has said they will appeal the decision.

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But why was he arrested in the first place, and what does his conviction mean for his political future? Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Imran Khan?

Imran Khan is a Pakistani politician, former cricketer and philanthropist who previously served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was born on October 5, 1952, in Lahore, Pakistan, and gained fame as the captain of the Pakistan national cricket team, leading them to their first-ever Cricket World Cup victory in 1992.

He retired from cricket in 1992 and transitioned into a career in politics, founding the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party in 1996 with a vision to create a more just and prosperous Pakistan. He ran in multiple elections over the years but faced initial challenges in gaining widespread political support.

The PTI gradually gained momentum and emerged as a major political force in Pakistan, and in general elections held in July 2018, Khan’s PTI won the most seats in the National Assembly. He was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan in August 2018.

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As Prime Minister, he focused on issues such as anti-corruption measures, improving governance, promoting social welfare programs, and enhancing Pakistan’s economy. Outside of politics, Khan has been actively involved in humanitarian work.

He founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, named after his mother, which provides free cancer treatment to patients in Pakistan. He also established Namal University, a non-profit educational institution in Mianwali, Pakistan.

Why was he arrested?

Since his ousting from power in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April 2022, Khan has been slapped with more than 150 legal cases, including several on charges of corruption, terrorism and inciting people to violence over deadly protests in May that saw his followers attack government and military property across the country.

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Khan was most recently detained as he appeared in a court in the nation’s capital, Islamabad, on 9 May to answer allegations of multiple counts of corruption.

The 72-year-old was detained on court grounds, according to Fawad Chaudhry, a senior official with the PTI, by agents from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan's anti-corruption agency.

Khan was ousted from office following a no-confidence vote in April of last year. He has since run a campaign against the administration of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, calling for early elections and claiming the action was unlawful and the product of a Western conspiracy.

Chaudhry said Khan was dragged from the court and put into a police car. He referred to the arrest as "an abduction."

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Officials from the anti-corruption body said the NAB had issued arrest warrants for Khan a week previously in connection with a different corruption case for which he had not been granted bail, which would have shielded him from arrest under local laws.

What does his conviction mean for Pakistan?

The conviction of Khan, as a prominent opposition leader and former Prime Minister, could have significant implications for the political landscape of Pakistan, and is likely to deepen political polarisation in Pakistan, with Khan’s supporters viewing his arrest as an act of political victimisation.

They will likely rally around him - there had already been increased demonstrations and clashes between protesters and law enforcement agencies in the wake of his arrests - leading to increased opposition against the ruling government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

A police vehicle burns following a protest by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party activists and supporters of former Imran Khan against his arrest in May (Photo: BANARAS KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)A police vehicle burns following a protest by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party activists and supporters of former Imran Khan against his arrest in May (Photo: BANARAS KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A police vehicle burns following a protest by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party activists and supporters of former Imran Khan against his arrest in May (Photo: BANARAS KHAN/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

What is the National Accountability Bureau?

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is an anti-corruption agency in Pakistan, established in 1999 with the aim of combating corruption and holding accountable those involved in financial misconduct, embezzlement, bribery, and other corrupt practices.

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The NAB operates under the National Accountability Ordinance, which grants it the authority to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption. Its primary mandate is to eliminate corruption in public and private sectors and recover embezzled or ill-gotten assets.

The NAB functions as an independent body and operates under the supervision of a chairman appointed by the President of Pakistan. It has its own investigation and prosecution wings, and collaborates with other law enforcement agencies, such as the police and intelligence agencies, to gather evidence and build cases against individuals suspected of corruption.

It has the power to summon individuals for questioning, conduct searches, and seize assets related to corrupt activities. If there is sufficient evidence, the NAB can file cases and prosecute the accused in special anti-corruption courts.

The NAB’s role and effectiveness in fighting corruption have been subject to both praise and criticism. Some view it as an important institution in the fight against corruption, while others raise concerns about its powers, transparency and accountability in handling cases.

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