Imran pays dearly for Toshakhana gifts

Former PM, wife sentenced to 14 years in prison

Imran Asghar January 31, 2024
PTI Chairman Imran Khan with his wife: FILE/PHOTO


A day after his conviction in the diplomatic cipher case, former prime minister Imran Khan was dealt another blow on Wednesday as an accountability court judge found him and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, guilty of misusing states’ gift repository and sentenced them to 14 years in prison.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs787 million each on the accused individuals in what is being described as the most swiftly concluded trial in accountability courts’ history.

In the reference filed last month—on December 19, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had accused the former PM and his wife of retaining precious gifts received during Imran’s terms as the country’s chief executive in violation of the prescribed protocol.

Interestingly, another trial court on August 5, 2023, disqualified Imran Khan and sentenced him to three years in prison for not disclosing the gifts he received as the prime minister in his statements of assets and liabilities submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Islamabad Accountability Court-I Judge Muhammad Bashir had presided over the trial on NAB reference inside Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where Imran Khan has been detained since September last year.

Two days back, on January 29, the judge had deprived the accused of their right to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses in view of the delaying tactics employed by the defense.

On Wednesday, when the judge resumed hearing the case, neither the accused nor their lawyers appeared in the courtroom. The judge directed Adiala’s Deputy Superintendent Muhammad Akram to present Imran Khan before the court.

Upon his arrival in the courtroom, the judge asked the PTI founder to submit his statement under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Imran Khan protested, stating that he had called in the court to mark his attendance.

Read List of Toshakhana gifts from 2002 to 2023

The judge noted that the court had informed him a day earlier—Tuesday—that he would have to appear in the court at 9 am and give his statement under Section 342 by all means.

A statement, recorded under section 342, is a plea, which may be taken by an accused in his defense to explain the evidence presented against him.

Imran Khan stated that the same thing happened a day earlier in the cipher case in which a judge pronounced his sentence in the absence of his lawyers. He said his statement under Section 342 was ready but he had left it in his prison cell.

The judge asked Imran to go and bring his statement immediately. When the PTI founder highlighted that he wanted to make a few changes in his statement, the judge replied that his statement could be typed in the court while changes could be made later on the composed text by his counsels.

The court instructed the deputy superintendent to accompany the former PM to his cell. However, after some time, the jail official told the judge that Imran had refused to return. “Imran Khan says he will not come to court and submit his statement until his lawyers arrive,” he said.

The judge later asked the court staff to call the case. When the accused did not appear in the courtroom despite the call, Judge Muhammad Bashir pronounced them guilty.

NAB Special Prosecutor Muhammad Nawaz later informed the media that after this sentence, both Imran and his wife have become ineligible for any public office and loan acquisition for up to ten years.

One hour after the Toshakhana reference verdict, Bushra Bibi arrived at Adiala Jail and surrendered to the authorities. The NAB team already present in the jail completed the formalities after which the former first lady was handed over to the jail authorities.

Sources in the jail informed The Express Tribune that Bushra underwent medical and biometric processes according to the manual. Afterward, she was shifted to the women's barracks.


However, later on Wednesday night, Islamabad chief commissioner declared Imran’s Bani Gala residence a sub-jail in view of security concerns, and Bushra was shifted back to her residence.

The chief commissioner issued the notification under Section 541 of the CrPC on the request of Adiala Jail superintendent. The sources revealed that the jail authorities had received a call in which an unknown caller had threatened to attack the jail in the coming days.

Section 541 states: “Unless when otherwise provided by any law for the time being in force, the government may direct in what place any person liable to be imprisoned or committed to custody under this Code shall be confined.”

Nikkah Case

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) disposed of Imran Khan and his wife’s petition seeking quashing of a case involving accusations of adultery and tying the knot without observing the mandatory pause—Iddat.

A division bench led by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq in its brief order noted that the high court could not interfere in the trial court’s proceedings now as the latter had already indicted the accused. The IHC order also resulted in vacating the stay order on the trial court’s proceedings.

Interestingly, the IHC is set to hear today (Thursday) Imran’s petition against the accountability court’s January 29 order that deprived his counsels the right to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses in the gift repository case.


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