Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were handed 14-year jail sentences on a graft charge.
Just one day earlier, Khan was also given a 10-year prison term in a case related to leaking state secrets.
Both rulings came barely a week before Pakistan’s 2024 general election on February 8, in which Khan has been barred from running and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been subject to a massive crackdown.
‘Another sad day in our judicial system history, which is being dismantled,’ a party spokesman told media after the lengthy sentences were handed down.
But why is his faith healing wife also caught up in the case, and who is she?
Former Prime Minister and First Lady of Pakistan Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi (pictured) have been jailed for 14 years
They were found guilty of selling state gifts from Khan’s time in office for personal profit
The couple reportedly met as Khan became increasingly interested in Bibi’s Muslim practices in 2015
Who is Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi?
Bushra Bibi is Imran Khan’s third wife, and was with the former cricketer while he served as Pakistan’s prime minister from 2018 to 2022 as the country’s First Lady.
The pair married in February 2018, around six months before Khan was elected, having reportedly met in 2015 when Khan approached Bibi for spiritual guidance.
Bibi comes from an influential Punjabi family, born near the Shrine of Baba Farid where she went on to meet her now-husband as a religious figure.
Before Khan, Bibi was wedded to senior Pakistani civil servant Khawar Maneka for almost 30 years.
With Maneka, Bibi had three daughters and two sons.
How did Imran Khan meet Bushra Bibi?
She met the cricketer-turned-politician as his interest in the Islamic practice of Sufism – a belief and practice focused on reaching purification through direct personal divine experience – increased.
Khan became a frequent visitor of the Sufi Shrine of Baba Farid, and Bibi was a respected scholar, mentor and faith healer.
He told Pakistani English-language newspaper Dawn in 2018: ‘My interest in Sufism started 30 years ago. It changed my life.
‘Sufism is an order with many levels, but I have never met anyone who is as high as my wife. My interest in her began with that.’
He also revealed that he did not see Bibi’s face until the pair were married, as she wears a Niqab – she was reportedly the first First Lady to wear one.
A handout photo showing Khan sitting with his bride at their marriage ceremony in Lahore, Pakistan, in February 2018
Bibi was reportedly the first Pakistani First Lady to wear a Niqab
When Khan was first arrested in May 2023, riots broke out across the country, but his street power was killed by a military crackdown that saw thousands of supporters detained
Why were Imran Khan and his wife arrested?
Khan and Bibi were found guilty of retaining state gifts received while the former was in office as prime minister to sell them on for personal profit.
Such gifts included a set of jewellery given by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
The 14-year jail terms were coupled with a roughly 1.5 billion-rupee (£4.2 million) fine for the couple.
Khan’s lawyer Salman Safdar confirmed they were sentenced together as Bibi had been on remand throughout the trial.
Intazar Hussain Panjutha, another member of Khan’s legal team, said Bibi had surrendered herself to authorities.
Since being ousted in 2022, Khan has been buried by court cases he claims have been triggered to prevent his return to office after a campaign of defiance against Pakistan’s military kingmakers.
He accused the powerful military – with whom he ruled in partnership for much of his tenure – of orchestrating his ousting in a US-backed conspiracy.
When Khan was first arrested in May 2023, riots broke out across the country.
But his street power was killed by a military crackdown that saw thousands of supporters detained – 100 of whom are facing closed-door military trials – and dozens of senior leaders forced underground.
‘You have to take revenge for every injustice with your vote on February 8,’ Khan said in a statement posted on his X profile reacting to his 10-year sentence on Tuesday.
‘Tell them that we are not sheep that can be driven with a stick.’
Who else has Imran Khan been married to?
Khan’s first marriage was in 1995 to Jemima Goldsmith (pictured with him after their civil wedding ceremony in Richmond), daughter of business tycoon James Goldsmith
In his cricketing years, Khan’s private life had become headline news with a reputation as a casanova
Jemima moved to Pakistan after her marriage to Khan, but reportedly struggled to adjust. They split amicably in 2004
Khan’s personal life used to be a matter of great public and media interest.
The former sportsman was once a feature on London’s dancefloors and bars before he devoted himself to a career in politics.
As his cricket career flourished in the 1970s, the handsome casanova developed a playboy reputation in England’s capital.
Khan was a regular at the socialite’s haven Tramp in Mayfair while playing for Sussex.
His home was a Knightsbridge flat that boasted a mirrored dining room and canopied bedroom with a painted tiger on the wall.
One visitor called it: ‘A bedroom of great expectations.’
Khan’s female friends included girls-about-town such as Susannah Constantine (who had dated Princess Margaret’s son Viscount Linley), Lady Liza Campbell and society artist Emma Sergeant.
As his friend, the model Marie Helvin sighed: ‘Everyone falls for Imran. He has a scent that is very attractive to women.’
A regular in gossip columns, always linked to some new beauty, Khan was defiant about his lifestyle, telling a 1984 interviewer: ‘In Pakistan you just don’t meet single girls. There are no discos, no bars, no meeting places.’
While he dated many stars including Goldie Hawn and Stephanie Beacham, many girlfriends were unknown and were referred to as ‘mysterious blondes’ by The Times.
Meeting women was among ‘the very decadent pleasures in life which I enjoy,’ Khan said.
But Khan claimed he rediscovered his faith in the mid 1990s, a shock to many who had witnessed his party antics throughout his life.
In 1995, he married Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of business tycoon James Goldsmith.
Then-42, he proposed to the 20-year-old Bristol student on their second date.
Goldsmith, who was raised as a Christian and has Jewish background via her father, was an unlikely match for the star with burgeoning political ambitions back home.
But within a few weeks they had married — she converted to Islam, learned Urdu and moved to Islamabad.
Photos then emerged of the couple making love on a poolside of a Mallorcan villa.
But as a favour to the Goldsmith family, the editor of Hello! Magazine bought them up and they were never published.
Jemima soon gave birth to her first son, Sulaiman Isa Khan, and was living in a compound in Lahore with Imran’s extended family.
There was no washing machine and she was said to find the food so repellent that she was existing on chocolate bars.
Jemima was presented to her husband’s countrymen at a rally in Peshawar, and made a speech in Urdu, asking women to vote in the elections. Witnesses said her legs trembled throughout.
Jemima, who had another son, Qasim in 1999, began making trips to London to finish the degree she’d started at Bristol.
She then decided to do a Masters in Middle East politics, which again meant spending time in London. Relieved to be free of the constraints of her life as a political wife, Jemima also needed to physically recover from the continuous attacks of gastroenteritis which plagued her in Pakistan.
With Imran spending three weeks of each month away from home, engaged in politics and charity fundraising, she had become demoralised and lonely.
For the final two years of the marriage, Jemima was based in England, and in 2004 they called time on the union.
In 2014, Khan married BBC weather girl Reham Nayyar Khan, but this ended in divorce just 10 months later
A handout picture from Khan’s marriage to Reham released by his political party
A second brief marriage to BBC weather girl Reham Nayyar Khan also ended in divorce after just ten months together.
The divorced mother of three met him in 2012 after she moved to Pakistan and interviewed him for a television news channel.
After a second interview years later, he invited her to dinner, she said, telling her he had something important to discuss – and then proposed marriage.
Astonished, Reham accepted, but her disillusionment was swift and she claimed that he was so spoiled he did not know how to use a microwave oven or a cashpoint.
‘He’s the only celebrity we have in Pakistan and expects everyone to do everything. I told him: “You’re like Rapunzel in the tower – you have no connection to real life.”
‘He’s so narcissistic and single-minded about his goal [of becoming prime minister] that he forgets the appropriate emotional response to things. He thinks he’s God. I married him because I believed in him and his mission.’
In a self-published memoir, she sensationally claimed that Imran has fathered five children out of wedlock – something his advisers strenuously deny. Imran’s friends say her book is nothing more than ‘the ravings of an embittered ex’.
The end of the marriage came after Imran apparently told her not to attend a political rally.
It was reported that she had hit him across the back of the head with an open hand during a disagreement over her political role.
Reham was notified of their Islamic divorce – talaq – by text and email seven days later.