Who is Imran Khan? Former Pakistan prime minister indicted for corruption

·4-min read
Imran Khan said the arrest is ‘politically motivated’  (AP)
Imran Khan said the arrest is ‘politically motivated’ (AP)

Imran Khan appeared in court on Wednesday, having been arrested on charges of corruption the day before in Pakistan capital Islamabad.

The country’s former prime minister said the arrest was “politically motivated”, and it follows on from an incident in which he was shot at in an apparent assassination attempt while on a march. An Islamabad court has handed Khan over to the National Accountability Bureau on an eight-day remand, Al Jazeera has reported.

Events around Mr Khan have led to civil unrest in Pakistan, where the former prime minister remains a revered figure, having captained his country to Cricket World Cup glory in 1992. Four people have been killed in protests in Peshawar, while the army could be deployed in the south-western state Balochistan.

Pakistani broadcaster Geo News reported that Mr Khan has been indicted for unlawfully selling state gifts during his term in office, which ended in 2022. He has been campaigning for early elections since then, with a general election slated to be held later this year.

His Pakinstan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has complained to the Islamabad High Court, which requested a police report explaining the charges for Khan’s arrest.

Dozens of cases have been brought against Mr Khan since he was ousted from power and he has even had other alleged attempts on his life. He says these are a government plot to discredit him.

Who is Imran Khan?

Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, 70, is a Pakistani former cricketer and politician, who served as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan, from August 2018 to April 2022, when he was ousted through a no-confidence motion.

Born in Lahore in 1952, Khan’s paternal family is of Pashtun ethnicity and belongs to the Niazi tribe.

He grew up with four sisters in an upper-middle-class family and was educated in England at the Royal Grammar School Worcester, before attending Keble College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics, and economics, graduating in 1975.

Khan made his test-cricket debut against England in 1971 at Edgbaston and, in 1976, he returned to Pakistan, where he secured a permanent position on the national team.

In 1982, he took over the captaincy of the team, until he retired after leading the country to World Cup glory in 1992.

On April 25, 1996, Khan founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and ran for a seat on the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1997, as a candidate of PTI from two constituencies — Mianwali and Lahore — but was unsuccessful and lost both seats.

The following years saw him participate again in the 2002 Pakistan general election, during which he was elected for Mianwali.

In 2018, Khan was elected prime minister of Pakistan and, during his victory speech, he said that his inspiration was to build the country as a humanitarian state, based on the principles of the first Islamic state of Medina.

Mr Khan has been married three times, firstly to British socialite Jemima Goldsmith. His second, short-lived marriage was to British Pakistani journalist Reham Khan.

His current wife is Bushra Bibi Khan, whom he married six months before he assumed office as prime minister.

He has three children — two sons and a daughter.

Imran Khan survived an assassination attempt in Islamabad (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf via AP)
Imran Khan survived an assassination attempt in Islamabad (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf via AP)

In November last year, a senior aide claimed there had been “an attempt to kill him”.

At least four other people were injured in the shooting when an unidentified gunman opened fire on a vehicle carrying Mr Khan as it travelled through Wazirabad, which is approximately 110 miles south-east of Islamabad, reports The Telegraph.

According to local news channels, shots were fired near the convoy carrying Mr Khan, 70, as he led the protest march, in the eastern Punjab province.

The former prime minister was on the march in a bid to call for a snap election, after being removed from office in April.

After the attack, he was rushed to hospital and, according to his supporters, his injuries are only minor.

Mr Khan’s PTI party called the attack an “assassination attempt”, and added that the leader, Faisal Javed, had also been injured in the attack.

Imran Ismail, a member of the party, said Mr Khan was shot in the leg “three to four times” by an attacker, wielding an AK-47.

According to The Telegraph, Farrukh Habib, of Mr Khan’s party, said: “Imran Khan is injured, may Allah protect him, the whole nation should pray for the life of Imran Khan.”