Jailed former Pakistani prime minister challenges his conviction in graft case

Jailed former Pakistani prime minister challenges his conviction in graft case

Khan states in petition filed with Islamabad High Court by his legal team that his conviction order ‘not sustainable’ and ‘liable to be set aside’

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan's jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday challenged his conviction in "corrupt practices" case in the Islamabad High Court, seeking suspension of sentence and his release until the appeal is decided, a court record and lawyer said.

Khan, the founder and chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), was sentenced to three years in prison by an Islamabad court last week in a case involving failure to declare foreign gift purchases and sales in his declaration to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Khan, who is currently imprisoned in Attock jail, about 88 kilometers (55 miles) off Islamabad, stated in a petition submitted through his legal team that the conviction order is "not sustainable" and "liable to be set aside."

The plea, according to Khan's lawyer Shoiab Shaheen, further stated that the trial court's verdict was passed “with the pre-disposed mind” of the trial court judge to convict and sentence the appellant “irrespective of the merits of the case.”

“This is a slap in the face to due process and fair trial and a gross travesty of justice," the petition read.

It claimed that the 30-page judgment of Aug. 5 was "already written" by trial court judge Hamayun Dilawar, and questioned how he could only take "30 minutes" to write them.

The petition subsequently prayed that the trial court verdict to be overturned, as well as for the court to declare Khan’s conviction and sentence “illegal and without lawful authority,” and to acquit him of the charges.

It also requested that the former premier's prison sentence be suspended and that he be released until the court rules on the appeal.

- Lawyers allowed meeting Khan in jail

Taking up a separate petition, Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Aamer Farooq allowed Khan's lawyers to meet him in jail to discuss the legal course of action.

Earlier, the jail authorities had denied Khan's lawyers’ access to him. However, following a high court order issued on a separate plea on Monday, the former prime minister met with his attorney the same day.

The cricketer-turned-politician is currently facing a string of cases lodged against him after being ousted from prime minister office by a no-confidence vote in April 2021. Since then, Khan has campaigned with his growing supporters for snap elections.

The former prime minister was previously arrested on May 9 by paramilitary Rangers from the Islamabad High Court premises after an anti-graft authority charged him with corruption. Since then, Khan's PTI party has faced a nationwide crackdown following violent protests, including attacks on military installations, across the country.

According to the government, over 2,000 PTI supporters and leaders are jailed for attacking military installations, while the PTI claims the figure is approximately 10,000.

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