ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Saturday expressed dismay over a Criminal Court’s verdict passed on the conclusion of a jail trial, sentencing former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi to seven years’ imprisonment on charges of contracting an ‘unlawful’ marriage.
In a statement, the HRCP said that the verdict has troubling implications for people’s right to privacy, particularly women’s right to dignity during the Court proceedings and to make decisions about divorce and marriage without the intrusion of the state.
“This could also set a precedent for S. 496 to be weaponized for political purposes,” it said.
Moreover, the HRCP added, that the fact that a politician who has fallen out of favour with the establishment has now been convicted four times over in five months in a series of trials that raise serious questions as to due process, right to counsel and fair trial, is a sobering reflection on the state of democracy in Pakistan.
Earlier in the day, the Senior Civil Judge Qudratulla awarded seven years imprisonment each to Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in the Un-Islamic Marriage Case.
A fine of Rs 0.5 million each was also imposed on the former prime minister and his wife.
This is the third sentencing for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
(PTI) leader over the last five days as earlier this week, he was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment in the Cipher Case and 14-year imprisonment in the Toshakhana Case.