Pakistan Ex-PM Imran Khan and Wife Jailed for ‘Illegal’ Marriage

A Pakistani court has sentenced Imran Khan and his wife to seven years in prison. This latest legal action against the former prime minister follows the annulment of their marriage.

The court declared the 2018 marriage between Khan and Bushra Bibi, a faith healer, to be contrary to Islamic law and therefore invalid.

Khan is also serving time for corruption charges. Just a week before a general election, the couple was found guilty of financially benefiting from state gifts.

Khan, aged 71, contends that the array of legal actions against him is driven by political motives.

The former cricket star, who transitioned into a political leader, was removed from his position as prime minister in 2022.

For this recent trial, a courtroom was established within Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, where Khan is incarcerated for other offenses.

The legal action was initiated by Bibi’s former husband, who alleged that her marriage to Khan was deceitful.

According to Islamic family law, there is a mandatory waiting period before a woman can remarry after a divorce or the death of her husband. It was determined that Bibi did not observe this waiting period before remarrying.

In addition to imprisonment, Khan and Bibi were fined 500,000 rupees (equivalent to $1,800 or £1,420).

Their marriage took place in 2018, shortly before Khan’s election as prime minister. Bibi, believed to be in her 40s and always appearing veiled in public, is Khan’s third spouse.

In his younger days, Khan was known for his flamboyant lifestyle, which changed after his marriage to British socialite Jemima Goldsmith in 1995, a union that lasted nine years and produced two sons.

His second marriage, to journalist and former BBC weather presenter Reham Khan in 2015, ended in less than a year.

The former prime minister has been detained since his arrest last August.

The recent sentencing marks the third time Khan has been imprisoned in less than a week. He received a 10-year sentence on Tuesday for disclosing confidential documents.

The allegations against him and his wife in Wednesday’s trial involved the illegal sale or retention of state gifts, including items from the Saudi Crown Prince, leading to 14-year sentences for both, with Bushra Bibi allowed to serve hers under house arrest.

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), accuses the judiciary of bias in these trials.

With the forthcoming election, the legitimacy of the process is under scrutiny, especially with Khan and his party marginalized.

Authorities deny a crackdown, yet many PTI leaders are either imprisoned or have switched allegiances.

Following Khan’s arrest last year, which triggered sometimes violent protests, thousands of his supporters were detained.