Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan Disqualified for Five Years by ECP

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the disqualification of former Prime Minister Imran Khan for a period of five years. This decision comes after his recent conviction in the Toshakhana case. Imran Khan was sentenced to three years of imprisonment and fined Rs100,000 by an Islamabad trial court for concealing details of Toshakhana gifts.

According to the court order, Imran Khan was found guilty of corrupt practices and intentionally providing false and inaccurate information about the gifts he received from the national exchequer. The court order stated that his dishonesty had been proven beyond doubt.

Imran Khan was subsequently arrested by Punjab police from his residence in Lahore. This verdict implies that he is technically disqualified from holding any public office for the next five years, as per Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution.

In response to the disqualification, Imran Khan’s political party, the PTI, has rejected the notification and referred to it as an attempt to execute the ‘minus-one formula’ based on a discriminatory and controversial trial. The PTI has declared Imran Khan as the party’s chairman for a lifetime at a core committee meeting held earlier today.

Imran Khan has also filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the trial court’s Toshakhana verdict. He argues that the order is not sustainable and should be set aside. The petition will be reviewed by a two-member bench of the IHC tomorrow.

This disqualification follows a turbulent period in Pakistani politics, starting with Imran Khan’s ouster as the prime minister through a no-confidence vote in April last year. His arrest in the Al Qadir Trust case in May led to widespread protests across the country. The PTI continues to face action since then.

Imran Khan’s disqualification by the ECP comes just four days before his government would have completed its tenure on August 12, had the party lawmakers not resigned following his removal.

The Toshakhana case, filed by ruling party lawmakers, accused Imran Khan of deliberately concealing details of the gifts he received from the Toshakhana during his time as the prime minister. The ECP concluded in October 2022 that Imran Khan had made false statements and incorrect declarations regarding the gifts, leading to his initial disqualification. The case proceeded to a trial court, and Imran Khan was indicted in May 2023.

Overall, this disqualification has significant implications for Imran Khan’s political career and the future of Pakistani politics.

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