Imran Khan,71, plans to contest elections from three constituencies, Lahore, Islamabad, and Mianwali, even though locked behind bars in Pakistan.
Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan currently behind bars, is planning to run for the upcoming general elections from at least three areas, despite facing legal troubles, according to his party’s announcement on Wednesday.
Back on August 5th, Imran Khan, a 71-year-old former cricketer turned politician, got convicted in the Toshakhana corruption case by a trial court in Islamabad. This case was filed against him by the Election Commission of Pakistan, leading to his arrest. The verdict resulted in him being disqualified from participating in elections for five years. However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) later suspended his three-year sentence, though he’s still in jail for other cases. Despite this, his conviction remains, making him ineligible for any public office.
Despite these legal challenges, Ali Zafar, a leader of the PTI, stated that Khan will still compete in the general election scheduled for February 8th. Zafar conveyed, “We want to let you know that Imran Khan will participate in the elections from at least three constituencies, and we hope that the IHC will make a decision soon in the Toshakhana case, given the election schedule is out.”
The newly-appointed PTI chief, Barrister Gohar Khan, confirmed that Mr. Khan will contest from Lahore, Islamabad, and Mianwali constituencies. Gohar assured that Mr. Khan would receive his nomination papers the next day, pledging, “Khan sahib will undoubtedly participate in these polls, God willing.” Gohar also revealed his own participation in the upcoming polls from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Buner constituency.
Imran Khan, previously disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for five years due to the Toshakhana case verdict, faces numerous legal battles, most initiated after his removal from power in April 2022.
In a related development, PTI chief Gohar Khan accused hurdles being created for their candidates in the elections, stating, “Nomination papers were taken from Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s secretary in Adiala jail.” Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Vice President of the party, is presently detained in Adiala Jail in connection with the cipher case, sharing the facility with Mr. Khan.
Zafar mentioned that PTI workers were directed to file their nomination papers. “Regarding PTI candidates, our incarcerated workers, who have sacrificed for the party in this challenging time, will be given tickets with top priority,” he emphasized. “The other candidates have been finalized, and their names will be announced soon,” Zafar added, condemning the prevention of party workers from filing nomination papers as an “undemocratic exercise” that could jeopardize free and fair elections.