Imran Khan and wife face jail time for illegal marriage

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Khan have been convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for violating the marriage law in a fourth case. The couple, who are already serving jail terms for corruption charges, have been found guilty of marrying without observing the mandatory waiting period for a divorced woman.

Imran Khan
Imran Khan

What is the marriage law violation case?

The marriage law violation case is one of the four cases that have been filed against Imran Khan and his wife since 2022, when he was ousted from power by the Supreme Court on corruption charges. The case was filed by Muhammad Amin, a former husband of Bushra Khan, who claimed that she married Imran Khan without completing the three-month waiting period (iddat) after divorcing him in 2018.

According to the Islamic law, a divorced woman has to wait for three months before remarrying, to ensure that she is not pregnant from her previous marriage. The waiting period also gives the couple a chance to reconcile and avoid a hasty decision. Amin alleged that Bushra Khan married Imran Khan only 45 days after divorcing him, and that she did not obtain his consent or inform him about her remarriage.

The case was heard by Judge Qudrat Ullah, who pronounced the verdict on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, after a one-day trial. The judge convicted and sentenced Imran Khan and Bushra Khan to seven years in prison each, and also imposed a fine of 10 million rupees ($60,000) on each of them. The judge said that the couple violated the marriage law and the Islamic principles, and that their marriage was unlawful and invalid.

How have Imran Khan and his wife reacted to the verdict?

Imran Khan and his wife have denied the charges and claimed that their marriage was legal and valid. They have also accused the court of being biased and politically motivated, and said that the case was part of a conspiracy to malign and persecute them. They have also appealed against the verdict and sought bail from the high court.

The lawyer for the couple, Intisar Panjutha, said that the verdict was unfair and unjust, and that the court did not consider the evidence and the arguments presented by the defense. He said that the court relied on the testimony of Amin, who was not a credible witness, and that the court ignored the fact that Bushra Khan had obtained a divorce certificate from a religious court, which stated that her waiting period was over. He also said that the court did not give the couple a chance to cross-examine the witnesses or to present their own witnesses.

What are the implications and consequences of the verdict?

The verdict has several implications and consequences for Imran Khan and his wife, as well as for the political and social situation in Pakistan, such as:

  • The verdict adds to the legal troubles and the jail terms of Imran Khan and his wife, who are already serving 14 years in prison for corruption charges in another case. The verdict also disqualifies Imran Khan from contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections on Feb. 8, 2024, and from holding any public office in the future. The verdict also affects the political prospects and the morale of his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is struggling to run an election campaign without its leader.
  • The verdict also raises questions and concerns about the independence and the integrity of the judiciary, which has been accused of being influenced and controlled by the military establishment, which has a history of intervening and manipulating the political affairs in Pakistan. The verdict also reflects the polarization and the instability in the country, which is facing multiple challenges and crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic slowdown, the security threats, and the international pressure.
  • The verdict also sparks a debate and a controversy about the marriage law and the Islamic principles, which are often interpreted and applied differently by different sects and schools of thought in Pakistan. The verdict also exposes the personal and the private lives of Imran Khan and his wife, who have been subject to intense scrutiny and criticism by the media and the public, especially for their unconventional and controversial marriage.

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