The Election Commission of Pakistan has delivered a decisive blow to the political aspirations of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, dismissing his nomination to participate in the upcoming 2024 national elections in two constituencies. This move marks another chapter in Khan’s ongoing political and legal saga, compounding the challenges he has faced since his ousting from office in April 2022.
Amid a tangle of political and legal obstacles, the 71-year-old ex-cricket star has largely remained out of the public eye since his sentencing to three years in jail last August. His conviction stemmed from the unauthorized sale of state gifts during his tenure as Prime Minister from 2018 to 2022.
Despite his disqualification from the forthcoming national elections scheduled for February 8 due to the corruption conviction, Khan’s attempt to contest was evident as he submitted his nomination papers on Friday. However, the Election Commission rejected his candidacy, citing reasons such as his lack of registration as a voter in the respective constituencies and his disqualification due to the court conviction.
Not only was his bid from Lahore dismissed, but the Commission also rebuffed his nomination to contest from his hometown, Mianwali, dealing a significant setback to his electoral ambitions.
Imran Khan, widely regarded as one of Pakistan’s most popular leaders, has vocally alleged that influential military forces are orchestrating his exclusion from the political landscape, purportedly aiming to thwart his participation in the polls. Conversely, the military has vehemently refuted these allegations.
In a recent turn of events, Pakistan’s Supreme Court granted bail to Khan in a case linked to the disclosure of state secrets. This decision arrived shortly after a high court declined to suspend his disqualification from contesting the elections, adding another layer of complexity to his legal battles.
As the political pendulum swings, Imran Khan’s journey is fraught with legal entanglements and political turmoil. His attempts to re-enter the political arena have been met with formidable challenges, prompting questions about the future trajectory of his political career and the evolving dynamics within Pakistan’s political landscape.