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Pakistan’s court suspends ex-PM Khan conviction on graft charges

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A court in Pakistan on Monday suspended the conviction of former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife on one of the several graft charges, his spokesman said, but the pair was unlikely to walk free due to other charges.

The Islamabad High Court said Khan’s trial in the lower tribunal that led to a 14-year jail term in January didn’t meet the legal requirements, his spokesman Ahmed Janjua said.

Khan, who was removed by the country’s parliament in April 2022 through a vote of no confidence, was convicted for stealing expensive gifts he had received as prime minister.

Pakistan’s laws require state officials to deposit gifts from other countries to the national kitty.

The high court would resume the hearing of Khan’s appeal later this month to examine if the conviction could be overturned, Janjua said.

Khan, who rose to power on the back of support by the country’s powerful military in 2018, was removed after he had fallen out of favour with generals on the appointment of the spy chief.

The military has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its existence and wields huge influence over politics.

Khan’s party won more seats in the national parliament than other groups, but could not form a government as his opponents formed a coalition.

The former sports-star cannot run for re-election due to his conviction on several financial and moral crimes.

Khan’s predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, is a frontrunner to become the prime minister now. He was convicted weeks ahead of elections in 2018 on similar charges.

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