Pakistan court rejects Imran Khan’s appeal on disqualification


ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court rejected a request by former premier Imran Khan to immediately suspend a decision by the Election Commission to disqualify him as a lawmaker after he was found guilty of hiding his assets.
The Chief Justice of Islamabad’s High Court Athar Minallah gave the former cricket star three days to refile his appeal and then seek suspension of the order, local media reported.
The judge, who wants Khan to file the appeal with complete documents, said there is no need to immediately suspend the order as his disqualification covers the current tenure in parliament and it does not bar him from contesting in future polls, Geo Television channel said.
The commission is yet to publicly release its full decision since Friday’s ruling, causing confusion on the term of the disqualification, Khan’s party spokesman Fawad Chaudhry earlier said by phone.
Law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar had said Khan would be disqualified from participating in elections for five years while Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has said the disqualification covers his current parliament seat.
The mounting legal challenges against Khan add to more political uncertainty in a country reeling from dwindling foreign exchange reserves, widespread floods and high inflation. Khan however is pushing forward with plans to call for a protest march to Islamabad later this week as he seeks to pressure Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to call snap elections.
The a five-member panel of the election commission issued a short order on Friday that Khan committed “corrupt practices” by not disclosing money he had earned from selling gifts from various foreign dignitaries. Pakistani law does not bar lawmakers from selling such gifts but hiding these transactions is illegal.
The government may file a criminal case against Khan for giving a false statement to the Election Commission, Tarar said last week. A conviction in a criminal case carries jail sentence and can bar Khan from participating in politics or holding any public office.

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