Pakistan: Imran Khan barred from politics for five years

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks with Reuters during an interview, March 2023IMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS
Image caption,

A file photo of Imran Khan before his arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, March 2023.

The former prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has been barred from holding public office for five years by the country’s electoral authorities.

The decision was announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan three days after Mr Khan was sentenced to three years in prison for corruption.

Tuesday’s announcement also means Mr Khan will be dismissed as an MP.

He maintains the charges are politically motivated, but the Pakistani government denies this.

Marriyum Aurangzeb, Pakistan’s minister of information and broadcasting, told the BBC before the announcement: “You have to be accountable for your deeds in law. This has nothing to do with politics. A person who has been proven guilty by the court has to be arrested.”

Mr Khan, 70, was elected as Pakistan’s leader in 2018, but was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year after falling out with the country’s powerful military.

His guilty verdict on Saturday was centred on charges he incorrectly declared details of presents from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale.

The gifts – reported to be worth more than 140m Pakistani rupees ($635,000; £500,000) – included Rolex watches, a ring and a pair of cufflinks.

Local media reported that Mr Khan’s disqualification from running in any elections for five years was in line with that guilty ruling.

Under Pakistani laws, a convicted person cannot run for public office for a period set out by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

His legal team has challenged the guilty verdict and the case will be heard in the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday.

The former prime minister is currently being held in a prison near Islamabad.

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