NEW DELHI: A re-run of Pakistan’s sorry past,” tweeted Husain Haqqani of the Hudson Institute following reports that former prime minister Imran Khan had been arrested after his conviction in the Toshakhana case. The trial court found him guilty of “corrupt practices” earlier today and sentenced him to three years in prison.
The court said Imran hid “the benefits he accrued from the national exchequer wilfully and intentionally. He cheated while providing information of gifts he obtained from the Toshakhana which later proved to be false and inaccurate. His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt.”
Journalist Azaz Syed confirmed Imran’s arrest from his residence in Lahore and that he had been sent to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi. According to the Dawn newspaper, the conviction automatically disqualifies him from holding any elected office for five years but he can appeal.
The arrest went off without any resistance from his party unlike in May when his supporters went on the rampage. In a message on twitter, Imran urged his party men, “I want you to continue peaceful protests and not to sit quietly inside your houses.”
But Islamabad was reported largely peaceful. In fact, his Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) is in crisis with scores of his party men in jail. Others have abandoned him entirely, one of them being his closest friend Jehangir Tareen, who has even formed a new party Istekham-e-Pakistan.
Imran joins the long list of Pakistani prime ministers who have never been allowed to complete their terms. As Pakistan scholar Sushant Sareen tweeted, “From PM House to Adiala Jail, that’s the story of PMs in Pakistan.”