Kabul: Pakistan’s election commission has disqualified former prime minister Imran Khan from holding public office for five years on charges of unlawfully selling government gifts he received from foreign dignitaries and concealing assets.
The five-member committee headed by chairman Sikandar Sultan Raja issued the verdict on Friday after the case was referred to it by the speaker of the lower house of the parliament.
In its statement, the electoral body announced that Khan committed “corrupt practice” and concealed the money from the sale of government gifts.
According to Pakistani law, selling these types of gifts is legal, but concealing transactions related to them is considered illegal.
According to reports, citing legal experts, the former premier will lose his National Assembly seat under the verdict. However, his spokesman said Khan will challenge the verdict in court.
The decision to disqualify the chief of Tehreek e Insaf Pakistan comes months after the parliament ousted him through a no-confidence vote. Khan called it a “foreign-backed regime change conspiracy”, pointing fingers at the US.
Despite being ousted from power, Khan’s popularity has increased, which was reflected in by-elections held recently in Punjab where Khan’s party swept the polls. The unexpected victory by Khan’s party allowed them to regain control of Punjab province.
Meanwhile, furious with Khan’s disqualification, his party urged supporters on Friday to take to the streets to peacefully condemn the decision.
Scores of Khan’s supporters were seen at the election commission on Friday, chanting slogans against the government.