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Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan handed another prison sentence

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on Saturday each received a seven-year sentence for violating the country’s rules over observing a mandatory pause between two marriages. File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on Saturday each received a seven-year sentence for violating the country’s rules over observing a mandatory pause between two marriages. File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were both sentenced Saturday to seven years in prison for violating the country's rules over observing a mandatory pause between two marriages.

The Islamabad civil court also fined the couple $1,800 each in a case that began after a complaint filed by Bibi's ex-husband, Khawar Maneka.

Maneka alleged Bibi did not observe the proper amount of time, or Iddat period, between unions, engaging in an "un-Islamic" marriage, or nikah.

Arguments in the case wrapped up Friday before the court issued its decision Saturday, finding both Khan and Bibi guilty under the Pakistan penal code.

Khan, 71, remains in custody in a jail in the town of Adiala, while Bibi, 49, was remanded to house arrest Saturday, with the court declaring her home a "sub-jail."

Imran Khan, who is also barred from running for political office in Pakistan for 10 years, maintains the court proceedings against him are politically motivated. File Pool Photo by Pang Xinglei/UPI
Imran Khan, who is also barred from running for political office in Pakistan for 10 years, maintains the court proceedings against him are politically motivated. File Pool Photo by Pang Xinglei/UPI

The ruling is the latest legal defeat for Khan, who was ousted as prime minister in a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly in April 2022. He was later stripped of a parliamentary seat days after winning it.

Khan last month was handed a 14-year jail sentence after he was found guilty on corruption charges.

Bibi was given a matching 14-year prison sentence while the couple was collectively fined $5.3 million after being found guilty of retaining or buying and then reselling official state gifts to Pakistan from other countries for personal gain.

Two days earlier, Khan was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "willfully" leaking classified state information. At the time, the founder of the populist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party was also barred from seeking political office for a term of 10 years.

Khan is currently serving a three-year prison sentence handed down last August after being convicted of corruption charges. The country's election commission also gave him a five-year ban from running for office at the time.

Khan maintains the court proceedings against him are politically motivated.

"My Pakistanis, the unfolding of the Tosha-khana, Cypher, and Iddat cases only highlights their frivolous, baseless, and politically motivated nature," he wrote in a long post on X on Friday.

"Pakistanis, you must know that all of these cases have no legal basis; they are part of an on-going political circus in the country for the past 22 months. The hasty manner in which all these cases are being concluded, is for only one purpose which is to demoralize the voters, especially the youth.

"Our most powerful and meaningful weapon is that of our vote, and we must wield it to overthrow crooks who have been imposed upon us," Khan said.