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Pakistan court rejects Imran Khan, wife appeal in unlawful marriage case

A court in February had ruled that the marriage of the former prime minister and Bushra Bibi had violated Islamic law.

Islamabad, Pakistan – A court in Pakistan has rejected an appeal by former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife to suspend a February ruling that their 2018 marriage had violated Islamic law.

The decision by the court in Islamabad on Thursday means that Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, will remain behind bars.

The original seven-year sentence, handed on February 3, was announced five days before the country’s general elections and followed two other convictions for Khan in separate cases. Both have since been overturned.

The marriage case against the couple was filed last year by Bibi’s former husband, Khawar Maneka, who alleged that his divorced wife did not observe the necessary three-month break required under Islamic law before marrying Khan.

Maneka claims he divorced his wife in November 2017. Khan announced his third marriage with Bibi in February 2018, months before he became the prime minister.

The couple filed multiple appeals against the February convictions, seeking a suspension of the judgement.

Another appeal by Khan and Bibi to annul the February conviction is expected to be heard from July 2.

Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari, a senior leader of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and a close aide of the former cricketer-turned-politician, described Thursday’s ruling as a “sad day for the judiciary.”

“The hatred of a few is adamant to destroy all institutions for it. Dismissing the appeal shows you that there is nothing on Imran Khan and his wife except this outrageous case,” Bukhari told Al Jazeera.

“This case is disgusting at all levels. Is [this] what the current setup wants to be