ISLAMABAD, May 29 — A Pakistani court today postponed a ruling on an appeal by former prime minister Imran Khan and his third wife against their conviction for unlawful marriage, their lawyer said.

Khan and his wife Bushra Khan, also known as Bushra Bibi, were sentenced to seven years in jail, just before a national election on February 8 after being found to have broken Islamic law by failing to leave the requisite interval after Bibi’s divorce.

The delay was due to the judge recusing himself after being accused of bias by Bibi’s former husband, Khawar Maneka, the lawyer, Naeem Panjutha, said.

The case is one of four convictions for Khan, three of which came in the lead-up to the election. The 71-year-old former cricket star and his Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf Party (PTI) say the cases were a politically motivated bid to thwart his return to power. Khan has been in jail since August.

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The court in Islamabad had said last week that it would announce its judgment today but Sessions Judge Shahrukh Arjumand instead asked the Islamabad High Court to “transfer the appeals to any other court”, according to a copy of his letter shared by Khan’s media team and the lawyer.

The letter said Maneka had shown “distrust” in Arjumand and that it would not be appropriate to announce a decision.

It was not immediately clear whether the High Court would transfer the case or it would be heard afresh.

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Candidates backed by Khan’s party won the most seats in February’s election but fell short of a majority, and his opponent Shehbaz Sharif was able to form a government with the help of allied parties. — Reuters