Imran Khan is banned from running for office for five years in Pakistan

By Sahar Akbarzai, CNN

CNN  —  Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been disqualified from running for office for five years, according to a statement released on Tuesday from the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Khan has been banned as a result of being found guilty last week in a corruption trial and sentenced to three years in prison, the statement said.

The trial relates to an inquiry conducted by the election commission which found Khan guilty of unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

Khan was arrested at his home in Lahore after the court’s ruling on Saturday and was transported to the capital Islamabad.

The former star cricketer turned populist politician has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. His PTI party said over the weekend that an appeal had been lodged in the Supreme Court against the decision.

In a video recorded prior to his arrest on Saturday, Khan asked supporters to peacefully protest to ensure their “freedom and human rights.” He said he was going through this “struggle” for the “future of Pakistan’s children.”

Khan, 70, was ousted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote last year and has since led a populist campaign against the current government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, accusing it of colluding with senior military leaders to remove him from office and keep him locked out of politics.

Pakistan’s government denied his arrest was politically motivated or an attempt to stop him from participating in elections later this year.

In May, his arrest and brief detention on a separate case triggered violent clashes between his supporters and police. Several senior party leaders were also detained.

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