Conviction appeal fails: Imran Khan still barred from vote

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Reuters :
Pakistan’s ex-prime minister Imran Khan remained disqualified from contesting elections after a court rejected his plea to suspend an earlier conviction on Thursday, his lawyer said.

The decision came a day before the deadline of submitting nomination papers for the elections for provincial and national assemblies scheduled for Feb. 8.

The 70-year-old former cricket star has been at the centre of a political crisis since he was ousted in a parliamentary confidence vote in April 2022.

Khan was imprisoned on Aug. 5 after being sentenced to three years jail on charges of unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022. He denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated.

He was seeking to overturn that conviction which has barred him from contesting elections for five years.

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“Imran Khan’s request to suspend the decision in the Tosha Khana criminal case was rejected so that the disqualification would remain,” Khan’s lawyer and spokesman on legal affairs, Naeem Haider Panjutha, said on X.

In addition to other cases, Khan pleaded not guilty on Dec. 13 to charges of leaking state secrets under an indictment that dealt a further blow to his chances of contesting the vote.

The charges are related to a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington last year, which Khan is accused of making public.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party will be facing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party as its main opponent in the vote.