Following a court’s verdict of a three-year prison sentence for the unlawful sale of state gifts, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, was apprehended by the police in the city of Lahore. The 70-year-old former cricket star turned politician faced allegations of exploiting his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022 to engage in the buying and selling of state-received gifts from foreign visits, with a collective value exceeding 140 million Pakistani rupees ($497,500).
Judge Humayun Dilawar, in the ruling, stated, “His culpability has been conclusively proven. He has been convicted of unethical conduct by deliberately and intentionally concealing the gains he accrued from the national treasury.” The court’s decision encompassed a fine of 100,000 rupees ($355), which, if unpaid, could result in an additional six months of imprisonment.
Imran Khan’s lawyer, Intezar Panjotha, disclosed that Khan was arrested at his Lahore residence by the police. Reports from Pakistani media indicated a presence of law enforcement surrounding his residence subsequent to the verdict’s announcement. Panjotha added, “We will be submitting an appeal against the ruling in the high court.”
In a video message shared on the X social media platform (formerly known as Twitter) before his arrest, Khan urged his supporters to voice their dissent on the streets. He expressed, “I have only one plea, one request for you all. You must not remain silent within your homes. The fight I am engaged in is not for myself alone, but for my nation, for you, for the future of your offspring. If you do not stand up for your rights, you will lead lives of subjugation, and those enslaved do not truly live.”
Khan’s post also alluded to the “London Plan,” a term he employs to describe an alleged conspiracy between the current army chief, General Asim Munir, and thrice-former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been in self-imposed exile in London since 2019, aimed at forcing Khan out of the political arena. However, Khan has yet to provide substantiating evidence for this claim.