The Pakistan High Court observed on Monday that it has not entirely disqualified ex-prime minister Imran Khan from contesting elections in the future as it heard the disqualification case of the former prime minister by the country’s top election body.
Pakistan’s election commission (ECP), in a unanimous decision, had found former cricket star turned politician guilty of “corrupt practices” and disqualified him from holding public office and being a member of the parliament, alleging that he had made a “false statement and incorrect declaration” about his assets before the ECP.
The top election tribunal found him guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries and heads of state, after Khan failed to disclose the proceeds of the sale of state gifts that he purchased from the Toshakhana, which is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to high state functionaries.
Authorities had ousted Khan from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he and his supporters vigorously protested against, he even alleged it was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.
However, Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Athar Minallah noted that they have not barred Imran Khan from contesting in future elections and he is eligible to contest in the Kurram district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on October 30.
“Imran Khan is not disqualified for that election. There should be one standard for all. There is no need to rush in this case,” the IHC chief justice said in response to Khan’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar’s insist to start the hearing despite administrative objections by the IHC registrar.
The confusion over the duration of the disqualification of Khan with some saying that he is disqualified from contesting elections for five years, led to the observation.
The court would hear the petition once they remove the objections, the judge said as he also refused to issue a stay order on the ECP verdict.