Pakistan court to hear jailed Imran Khan’s plea against conviction

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A Pakistani high court will next week take up a plea from former prime minister Imran Khan for the suspension of a three-year prison sentence on corruption charges, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Khan was jailed this month after his conviction for corruption and then barred from politics for five years, preventing him from contesting a general election due late this year.

The former cricket star denies the charges, saying they are a politically motivated bid by his rivals to exclude him from the election.

“Our application with regard to suspension of Khan’s conviction has been fixed for Aug 22,” Khan’s lawyer, Naeem Panjutha, said in a post on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Panjutha said he hoped the Islamabad High Court, which will take up the plea, would grant Khan bail.

Khan, 70, has been at the centre of political turmoil since he was ousted last year as prime minister in a no-confidence vote, raising concerns about Pakistan’s stability as it grapples with an economic crisis and natural disaster.

The corruption conviction stemmed from an accusation of unlawfully selling state gifts that Khan and his family acquired during his 2018-2022 tenure as prime minister.

Khan has accused the powerful army of trying to undermine his political ambitions. The military, which has for decades assumed the responsibility of overseeing the country’s political course, denies that.

His legal team and party say living conditions at the prison near Islamabad where he is being detained are unsuitable given his status as a former prime minister.

Authorities have said Khan has the right to approach a court to seek better conditions.

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