Pakistani electoral authorities have banned former Prime Minister Imran Khan from holding public office for five years. Khan’s recent sentencing in a corruption case led to his disqualification.
Consequently, the former Pakistan prime minister is barred from elections for five years.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued an official order on Tuesday, confirming Khan’s disqualification from public office in accordance with his corruption conviction. The order stated, “Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi is disqualified for a period of five years.” The ECP added that Khan’s parliamentary constituency would now be considered vacant due to his disqualification.
The electoral authorities’ move comes three days after the former Pakistan Prime Minister was handed a three-year prison sentence.
Pakistani law mandates that any individual who has been convicted of a crime cannot contest or hold public office for a duration specified by the ECP. The decision to disqualify Khan aligns with this legal provision.
In response to the disqualification, Imran Khan’s close aide, Zulfikar Bukhari, revealed to the media that they anticipated this outcome and are prepared to challenge the decision in the high court. Bukhari is confident that the disqualification will be overturned through a legal challenge. He believes that the charges against the disqualified politician are driven by political motivations.
However, the Pakistani government has denied allegations of political bias in Khan’s case. Officials maintain that the legal proceedings were carried out fairly and transparently, and the disqualification is a direct result of the conviction.
Pakistan’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that accountability based on deeds in accordance with the law is essential.
A prominent figure in cricket for decades, Imran Khan assumed the Pakistan premiership in 2018 at 70. However, his tenure was cut short when he was ousted through a no-confidence vote. Khan was convicted of incorrectly declaring details of foreign dignitaries’ gifts and the alleged sale proceeds of those gifts.
Despite his consistent denial of any wrongdoing, the former prime minister received a three-year prison sentence last Saturday. Khan was arrested at his Lahore residence following his sentence, and has been transferred to a prison facility near Islamabad.
In the meantime, Imran Khan’s lawyers contest the guilty verdict. The case is scheduled to be heard in the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday, where Khan’s lawyers will present their arguments to overturn the conviction and subsequent disqualification.
The response to Imran Khan’s imprisonment was notably distinct from the strong anger after his initial arrest. His initial arrest led to widespread protests and vocal opposition, but the subsequent imprisonment has seen a less pronounced reaction. Even on social media platforms like Facebook, the volume of posts mentioning Khan’s name has notably diminished compared to his first arrest.
Opinion leaders point to the forceful clampdown on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers that ensued Khan’s initial arrest in May as a factor contributing to the present subdued reaction. The arrests, coupled with the swift enactment of stringent laws by the coalition government, have collectively deterred Pakistani citizens.
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