Pakistan electoral board bars Imran Khan from public office for 5 yrs
Following the committee's decision, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party calls on its supporters to engage in peaceful protests.
Pakistan's electoral authorities announced on Friday that they ruled out former Prime Minister Imran Khan from running in the upcoming elections scheduled to be held between August and November next year.
The reason, according to the authorities, was that Khan failed to share details of the gifts, incomes, and proceeds he had received.
In August, the country's coalition government filed a motion against Khan over this.
As a result, Khan was unseated from the National Assembly and was barred from running for political office for five years.
Khan's lawyer Gohar Khan said his team will immediately address the court's decision at the Islamabad High Court.
"[Khan] was found guilty and involved in corrupt practices by not declaring his assets and source of income, you can't sell the gifts given to you as a Prime Minister by the brotherly royal family," Justice and Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar told reporters.
Big One: Imran Khan Vs Nawaz Sharif—SCP Panama Case 2017—all these arguments remain one of prime reasons in PTI Chairman’s today disqualification. @SAMAATV’s Exclusive Order Copy shows it all. pic.twitter.com/qLIcwP8WK9— Zahid Gishkori (@ZahidGishkori) October 21, 2022
The case hinges on a government department known as the "Toshakhana", a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division tasked with storing precious gifts given to the head of state, MPs, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments, states, and foreign dignitaries.
Government officials are usually required to declare all gifts, and in some cases, they are allowed to keep those below a certain value and buy back more expensive presents at a discount.
Khan is alleged to have failed to declare the totality of his assets on the basis that it would jeopardize international relations.
Since his ousting from power following a vote of no-confidence last April, Imran Khan has actively organized a series of popular anti-government demonstrations and faced a slew of charges along with other members of his political party Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The country's rulers have a history of using the police and courts to silence political opponents, and former Premier Nawaz Sharif has several pending cases brought against him while he was in opposition.
Since his ouster, Khan has constantly reiterated that the government was imposed on Pakistan by a US-led conspiracy.
Yesterday, it was reported that Khan won six out of the eight seats in the National Assembly for which he ran in a by-election that took place at the weekend, in a vote he considered a "referendum on his popularity."
Imran Khan’s message to his party workers and supporters. pic.twitter.com/YpUWCCs58r— Ihtisham Ul Haq (@iihtishamm) October 21, 2022
Khan's party, the PTI, called on its supporters to engage in peaceful protest following the issuing of the decision.
According to Fawad Chaudhry, Khan's aide, the decision of the committee had been made at the orders of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Khan's rival.
"People will come out against the verdict, no one could disqualify Imran Khan. He is a popular leader and only the public can disqualify him," Chaudhry told sources.
Sources reported earlier that clashes erupted between police and Khan's supporters in Rawalpindi and in Islamabad.
#Censorship being imposed on #Pakistani TV channels by”known unknowns” with directions not to show protests across #Pakistan by #Pakistanis over disqualification of Fmr Pakistani Prime Minister #ImranKhan by the government.— Arshad Sharif (@arsched) October 21, 2022
(Heavy tear gas shelling at Faizabad by police). pic.twitter.com/JdInr5l2f6
"Elected members of the assemblies should be discarded by votes of their constituents and not disqualified by judicial benches," Legal expert Osama Malik said.
But others have welcomed the committee's decision, including Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who said the following in a tweet.
Election commission of Pakistan has found Imran Khan guilty of corrupt practices. He now stands disqualified. He who would spread lies about alleged corruption of his political opponents has been caught red handed.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) October 21, 2022