Imran Khan: The Ex-PM of Pakistan arrested as Pakistani court gives three years sentence in jail.

Mr Imran Khan, the ex-PM of Pakistan was found guilty of not declaring money earned from selling gifts he received in office. He denies the charges and says he will appeal.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than 140 million Pakistani rupees ($635,000).

Police arrested Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday, his lawyer said, after a court sentenced him to three years in prison for illegally selling state gifts.

Legal experts say guilty verdict reached by a district court could end Khan’s chances of participating in national elections that have to be held before early November.

In a pre-recorded statement posted after the verdict, he urged supporters to fight against the ruling.

“I have only one appeal, don’t sit at home silently,” he said in a video address posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “I am struggling for you and the country and your children’s future,” he added.

The former cricketer-turned-politician, 70, was elected in 2018, but was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year after falling out with Pakistan’s powerful military.

Mr Khan is facing more than 100 cases brought against him since his removal – charges he says are politically motivated.

Pakistani media and a Reuters witness described police surrounding Khan’s residence in Lahore on Saturday after verdict was released.

The sentence relates to an inquiry conducted by the election commission, which found Khan guilty of unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

Khan has denied any wrongdoing.

However, the government has adamantly denied that there was any political motivation in Mr Khan’s arrest or disqualification. Marriyum Aurangzeb, Pakistan’s minister of information and broadcasting, told the BBC: “You have to be accountable for your deeds in law. This has nothing to do with politics. A person who has been proven guilty by the court has to be arrested.”

Saturday’s verdict centred on charges that Mr Khan incorrectly declared details of presents from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale.

“Imran was given ample opportunities to present his defense, but he consistently sought to sidestep the law, hiding behind legal complexities and employing delaying strategies,” said Maryam Aurangzeb, the country’s Information Minister.

“My message to Imran Khan is straightforward: your time is up. You can no longer deceive or hoodwink the public,” Aurangzeb added.

In May, his arrest and brief detention on a separate case triggered violent clashes between his supporters and his police. Several senior party leaders were also detained but there were no immediate signs of fresh unrest following Khan’s arrest.

The gifts – reported to be worth more than 140m Pakistani rupees ($635,000; £500,000) – included Rolex watches, a ring and a pair of cuff links.

“His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” Judge Humayun Dilawar wrote in his ruling. Outside the courthouse, some pro-government demonstrators chanted “your show is over Khan”.

Imran Khan’s lawyer, Intazar Hussain Panjutha, told the BBC the trial had been conducted by “a kangaroo-type court” in which “the accused was never given the opportunity to defend himself”.

The army has previously rejected Khan’s claims it had anything to do with past purported attempts on his life.

The former international cricketer’s claims have struck a chord with a young population in a country where anger and disillusionment with the political and military establishment is being fueled by a rising cost-of-living crisis and anti-American sentiment is common.

A guilty verdict in the case could exclude Khan from national elections that are due to be held by November, legal experts have said.

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