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Pakistan’s Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Conviction

A court in Pakistan’s capital is expected to issue a crucial ruling on Thursday regarding an appeal from former Prime Minister Imran Khan against his recent conviction and three-year sentence in a graft case, according to one of his lawyers. Khan, a former cricket star and top opposition leader, was found guilty of concealing assets after selling state gifts he received while in office. He was convicted and sentenced on August 5 by another court.

Khan’s legal team has requested his release, citing that the trial court sentenced him hastily. However, the 70-year-old Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022, is currently being held at a high-security prison in eastern Punjab province. Even if his conviction is overturned, his release is unlikely as other courts have canceled his bail in multiple cases.

Khan has denied the charges of corruption, stating that he did not violate any laws. Despite his conviction and sentencing, Khan remains popular in Pakistan, and his opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is expected to give tough competition to political opponents in upcoming elections.

Khan will be unable to run in the election unless his appeal is granted and he is released from prison. Pakistan’s Election Commission disqualified him from running for office for five years based on his conviction and sentence. Under the country’s laws, convicted individuals are ineligible to lead a party, run in elections, or hold public office.

Khan has claimed that his removal in 2022 was a conspiracy involving Washington, his successor Shehbaz Sharif, and the Pakistani military. However, all three parties deny these accusations. Shehbaz Sharif recently stepped down after the parliament’s term ended.

In addition to the appeal, Khan’s legal team has also petitioned the Supreme Court of Pakistan to seek his release. However, the Supreme Court has stated that it will only take up the matter after the Islamabad High Court rules on Khan’s appeal.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Khan’s petition later on Thursday amidst worsening political turmoil. The upcoming vote has been further complicated by the election oversight body’s announcement that elections must be delayed, as it needs four months to redraw constituencies based on the recently held census.

According to the constitution, a vote is supposed to be held in October or November, and caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar is currently managing day-to-day affairs.

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