Trials and Tribulations
Listen to Today's Edition
A Pakistani court rejected a request by former Prime Minister Imran Khan to suspend a ruling by the country’s Election Commission that banned him from running for office for five years, the National reported Monday.
Last week, the five-member panel of the commission disqualified Khan as a lawmaker, saying that the cricketer-turned-politician had committed “corrupt practices” by failing to disclose money he had earned from selling gifts from various foreign dignitaries.
Although Pakistani law does not prohibit lawmakers from selling such items, concealing these transactions is prohibited, Bloomberg noted.
The embattled former leader challenged the decision but Islamabad’s High Court gave Khan three days to refile his appeal and then seek suspension of the order.
The court also said that there was no need to immediately suspend the commission’s ruling because his disqualification only applies to his current term in parliament and does not bar him from running in future elections.
Officials in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said the Election Commission has yet to publicly release its full decision, which has caused confusion on the terms of the disqualification. The recent rulings come as Khan faces a series of legal challenges after authorities accused him of trying to stir up dissent against the government.
Khan stepped down following a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April, which he said was part of a US-backed conspiracy to remove him. The US denied those allegations.
Since then, he and his PTI supporters have been holding demonstrations around the country – some of which have turned violent – and called for new elections.
The government, meanwhile, said it might file criminal charges against Khan for giving a false statement to the Election Commission. If convicted, Khan could face a jail sentence and be barred from participating in politics or holding any public office permanently.
The rising legal challenges against Khan add to Pakistan’s political and economic turmoil: The country has been grappling with low foreign exchange reserves, devastating floods and soaring inflation.