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Bushra Bibi, the wife of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan, has been put under house arrest at her residence in Bani Gala since late Wednesday. This action follows her conviction in the notorious Toshakhana case. Notably, Ms. Khan, commonly referred to as Bushra Bibi, voluntarily surrendered herself for arrest shortly after the verdict.
The authorities designated the Bani Gala residence as a “sub-jail” to confine the former first lady, as per the request of Adiala jail superintendent. Both Bushra and Khan received a 14-year jail term each, following the announcement of the verdict by accountability court’s Judge Muhammad Bashir. The case pertained to the illegal sale of state gifts. Additionally, the court disqualified the former prime minister from holding public office for 10 years and imposed a hefty fine of Rs1.57 billion, with 787 million imposed on each of the couple.
During the preceding hearing at Adiala jail, the court recorded Bushra Bibi’s statement under Section 342. Khan, addressing the court, asserted that his wife had no involvement in the case and was being unjustly dragged into it, causing her humiliation.
At the beginning of the current hearing, Judge Bashir inquired if Khan had recorded his statement. In response, the former premier stated that he would submit his statement once his legal representation arrived.
Who is Bushra Bibi?
Born Bushra Riaz Watto, Ms Khan changed her name after her marriage to the former Pakistani cricket star in 2018. Her Urdu title, Bibi, is a term of respect used by Muslim women in South Asia.
Estimated to be in her 40s, Ms. Khan holds significant influence in Pakistan’s Sufi community due to her commitment to Sufism—a mystical and ascetic form of Islam emphasizing the inner, spiritual dimensions of religious practice.
The couple entered into matrimony in a discreet ceremony months before Khan assumed the premiership for the first time. This marked Khan’s third marriage, following two divorces. He regards Ms. Khan as his spiritual guide, acknowledging her dedication to Sufism. The former first lady is reputedly a follower of the 13th-century mystic, Fariduddin Masud Ganjshakar, popularly known as Baba Farid, a revered Muslim mystic and Sufi saint whose shrine is situated in Pakpattan, Punjab province, Pakistan.
Ms. Khan has maintained an aura of fascination in Pakistan. Hailing from a landowning family in Punjab, details about her early life are scarce in the public domain. She was previously married to Khawar Farid Maneka, a customs officer from a politically influential Punjab family, and has five children from her first marriage.
Before his marriage to Ms. Khan, Khan had previous marriages to Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of business tycoon James Goldsmith, and TV journalist Reham Nayyar Khan.