The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed deep concern on Saturday regarding a court’s decision to sentence former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, to seven years of imprisonment for their alleged involvement in an “unlawful” marriage.
In a released statement, the HRCP highlighted the alarming implications of the verdict on people’s right to privacy, particularly emphasizing women’s right to maintain dignity during legal proceedings and to make personal decisions regarding marriage and divorce without unwarranted state interference. This ruling may also establish a dangerous precedent, potentially enabling the misuse of Section 496 for political motives.
The HRCP underscored the disturbing pattern of convictions faced by a politician who has fallen out of favor with the establishment, with four convictions within five months. These successive trials raise serious questions about the integrity of due process, the right to legal counsel, and the overall fairness of the trials. This sequence serves as a somber reflection on the current state of democracy in Pakistan.