Despite a Pakistani high court’s decision to suspend Imran Khan’s corruption sentence on Tuesday, he will remain imprisoned due to a separate case that led to his custody by another judge. Khan, a former cricket star and ex-prime minister, has been at the center of a political crisis since being ousted from office in April 2022. The situation has been exacerbated by Pakistan’s challenging economic conditions.

Following a conviction of illegally selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister (2018-2022), Khan was sentenced to three years in prison and incarcerated on August 5. Additionally, due to this conviction, he is ineligible to participate in elections for the next five years.

Although a court order suspended his corruption sentence and granted him bail, Khan will remain in custody due to a prior judge’s order regarding a separate case involving the disclosure of state secrets. A court document indicated that the government is required to present Khan before the judge on the following day.

While the suspension of the corruption term will not lift the ban on Khan’s participation in elections as long as the conviction stands, his appeal petition argued that the sentence should be immediately suspended because he was found guilty in a summary trial without being given the opportunity to defend himself.

Khan’s discord with the military, which typically holds influence over Pakistan’s leadership, contributed to his downfall. His claim that his dismissal was at the US government’s urging, driven by his visit to Russia before the US-led invasion of Ukraine in 2022, has been disputed by both Washington and the Pakistani military.

Khan faces numerous other charges, including coordinating violent protests, corruption, aiding murder, and treason. He asserts that these cases are politically motivated.

While Khan’s party demands his immediate release, his legal situation remains complex. Khan’s potential overturning of his graft conviction is subject to a comprehensive judicial process, and his freedom is also hindered by involvement in other cases against him.

(With agency inputs)

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