Imran Khan: Former Pakistan PM Barred From Running For Office For Five Years

Pakistan’s election commission has barred former Prime Minister Imran Khan from holding public office on charges of unlawfully selling state gifts.

The governing coalition had sought the ruling, accusing Mr Khan of not sharing details of presents from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale.

His lawyers say they will challenge the commission’s verdict in the high court.

Mr Khan has previously said the case is politically motivated.

The unanimous decision by a five-member panel of the election commission is a huge setback for the former premier, says the BBC’s Anbarasan Ethirajan. Imran Khan remains hugely popular.

He admitted last month to having sold at least four gifts he had received during his tenure as prime minister, and that they had been included in his income tax returns.

The gifts included Rolex watches, a ring and a pair of cuff links.

Government officials must declare all gifts, but are allowed to keep those below a certain value. In some cases, the recipient can buy them back at around 50%, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Khan – who has denied the charges against him – previously said he had not made public some gifts on national security grounds, but in a written submission admitted buying items worth nearly $100,000 (£90,000), and later selling them for more than twice that amount, AFP says.

Faisal Chaudhry, a lawyer in Mr Khan’s team, has told Reuters news agency the election commission tribunal has no jurisdiction in the matter and that the decision will be challenged.

Security had been stepped up in the capital, Islamabad, ahead of the commission’s ruling.

After the ruling, Khan’s party spokesman Fawad Chaudhry called for supporters to come out on the streets to “topple this parliament”.

Since being ousted from power in April, Mr Khan has been a vocal critic of the government and the country’s army.

Since then, the former leader has toured the country to deliver a series of fiery speeches calling for fresh elections and fiercely criticising both the government and the army.

The charismatic politician was elected prime minister in 2018, but fell out with Pakistan’s powerful army towards the end of his tenure. After a series of defections, he lost his majority in parliament.




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