Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and his wife, has been sentenced to seven years in jail after their marriage was deemed un-Islamic and illegal by a Pakistani court.
The court, convened inside the Adiala Jail where Khan is currently serving a sentence for corruption, declared that his 2018 marriage to Bushra Bibi, a faith healer, violated Islamic law. Khan, already facing imprisonment for corruption charges, contends that the legal actions against him are politically motivated.
The complaint leading to this conviction was filed by Bibi’s ex-husband, asserting that her marriage to Khan was fraudulent. The court found that Bibi had remarried before completing the required waiting period under Muslim family law, which prohibits women from remarrying for a specified time after divorce.
Apart from the seven-year jail term, Khan and Bibi were fined 500,000 rupees ($1,800; £1,420). The couple married months before Khan’s election as prime minister in 2018, and Bibi is Khan’s third wife, known for her spiritual healing practices.
Imran Khan’s tumultuous personal life includes a previous nine-year marriage to British socialite Jemima Goldsmith and a brief marriage in 2015 to journalist Reham Khan. He has been in detention since August, and this recent sentence marks his third within a week, including a 10-year term for leaking classified documents and a 14-year sentence for profiting from state gifts, received alongside his wife.
Critics of the legal proceedings, including Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, argue that he has been subjected to “kangaroo courts.” As the election approaches, questions about the credibility of the process arise, with Khan and his party sidelined and many leaders behind bars or defecting.
The three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, jailed for corruption before the 2018 election won by Khan, is now seen as a frontrunner, with analysts suggesting favoritism from Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.