Lahore, Pakistan – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been barred from running for office for the next five years, following a verdict released by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The Commission’s statement cited Khan’s recent conviction in a corruption trial as the basis for the ban.
Last week, Khan was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison as a result of a corruption trial, conducted by the Election Commission. The trial centered on allegations of Khan’s involvement in the improper sale of state gifts during his tenure as Prime Minister from 2018 to 2022.
The arrest of the ex-cricket star turned populist politician took place at his residence in Lahore immediately after the court’s ruling on Saturday. He was subsequently transferred to the national capital, Islamabad.
Khan, 70, who had been ousted through a parliamentary no-confidence vote the previous year, has consistently denied any wrongdoing. His political party, PTI, confirmed lodging an appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court over the weekend.
In a pre-arrest video, Khan implored his supporters to engage in peaceful protests to safeguard their freedom and human rights. He framed his struggle as one for the future of Pakistan’s youth.
Khan’s downfall has been intertwined with a populist campaign against the incumbent government, led by PM Shehbaz Sharif. He accused the government of collusion with senior military figures to undermine his position and keep him out of politics.
The Pakistani government refuted claims that Khan’s arrest was politically motivated or aimed at blocking his participation in the upcoming elections later this year. A separate arrest incident in May had led to violent clashes between Khan’s supporters and law enforcement, resulting in the detention of several senior party members.