Former Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Tuesday, the newest twist in what’s extensively seen as a marketing campaign by the army to sideline one in all its main critics from politics.
The sentence, which was delivered in a case during which Mr. Khan is accused of leaking state secrets and techniques, got here a couple of week earlier than Pakistan is about to go to the polls for the primary nationwide election since he was ousted in a vote of no confidence in April 2022.
Analysts have referred to as the election among the many least credible in Pakistan’s 76-year historical past due to the army’s widespread crackdown on Mr. Khan and his supporters.
His ouster set off a political showdown between Mr. Khan and the nation’s highly effective army, which has lengthy been the invisible hand guiding the nation’s politics. Mr. Khan and his supporters have accused army leaders of orchestrating his elimination — an accusation they deny.
The nation has been embroiled within the political disaster spawned by Mr. Khan’s ouster for a yr and a half. As Mr. Khan and his supporters have railed towards the nation’s generals, public anger on the army has swelled. In May, hundreds of protesters attacked military installations in scenes that have been as soon as unimaginable in Pakistan.
In response, the army launched a widespread intimidation campaign aimed toward weakening Mr. Khan’s political occasion, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or P.T.I., and curbing the exceptional political comeback he has made at the same time as he has been jailed and barred from contesting the nationwide election subsequent week.
The decision on Tuesday was handed down by a particular courtroom that was established earlier this yr and that analysts say is extra deferential to the army’s needs. Mr. Khan has referred to as the trial a “mounted match,” suggesting its end result was predetermined, and his occasion mentioned it will enchantment the decision.
“This 10-year sentence gained’t stand for 10 days earlier than the appellate courts. Such brazen disregard of regulation and structure has by no means been witnessed earlier than,” Taimur Malik, one of many attorneys for Mr. Khan, said in a post on X, previously generally known as Twitter.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a former overseas minister and shut aide to Mr. Khan, was additionally handed a 10-year sentence on Tuesday in the identical case.
Salman Masood contributed reporting from Islamabad.