Imran Khan’s nomination rejected by election commission amid legal battles

Khan has been in prison since August

Maroosha Muzaffar
Sunday 31 December 2023 08:40

Party is resilient to challenges after former PM’s conviction, says aide

The election commission of Pakistan has rejected former prime minister Imran Khan’s nomination to contest the 2024 national elections in two constituencies.

According to the election commission officials and the former prime minister’s media team, Mr Khan filed nomination papers to contest elections in Lahore and his hometown of Mianwali.

Khan’s nomination in Lahore was declined due to his lack of registration as a voter in the constituency and his previous conviction, resulting in his disqualification from participating in the elections.

Mr Khan has been in prison since August when he was jailed for three years on charges of illegally selling state gifts, stating that the accusations against the prominent leader were proven. The Islamabad trial court also disqualified him from politics for five years, imposing a ban on his political activities.

Khan is facing more than 170 cases, including charges ranging from contempt of court to terrorism and inciting violence.

The upcoming elections will bring about a new government for a five-year term, entrusted with the crucial responsibility of revitalising Pakistan’s economy. The country faced imminent default earlier this year, prompting a $3bn bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

The elections also aim to bring an end to the political uncertainty that has prevailed in Pakistan since Mr Khan’s removal through a parliamentary no-confidence vote last year.

Despite Mr Khan’s disqualification, he filed nomination papers, claiming to be targeted by the military.

The election commission also rejected nominations from other senior members of the former prime minister’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Meanwhile, another former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s nomination was accepted, pending a hearing on a life ban on holding public office.

Mr Sharif, who returned from exile, seeks a fourth premiership in the upcoming elections and faces a major challenge from Imran Khan for his support base.

Mr Khan’s lawyer, Azhar Siddique, said the rejection exposed the election commission’s bias. He blamed the commission and “invisible forces” for his disqualification. Another of his lawyers, Rai Muhammad Ali, described the rejection of Mr Khan’s papers as an injustice to Pakistan.

“We want transparent elections,” Mr Ali said. “These situations are being deliberately created to evade the election. They are all scared. We will not let them escape.”

Additional reporting with agencies

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