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Former Pakistan PM Khan Prevented From Partaking In Elections

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was disqualified on Friday from running for political office for five years after the election commission ruled he misled officials about gifts he received from foreign leaders while in power. The decision is the latest twist in political wrangling that began even before Khan’s April ouster and is one of several legal battles being fought by the former international cricket star and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Many of his supporters attacked moving vehicles as they left the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) headquarters after the ruling, and police detained one of Khan’s security guards after he fired a shot into the ground.

In the eastern city of Lahore, his supporters blocked some roads, while in Faisalabad, they used burning tyres to stop traffic.On Twitter, Islamabad police said security in the capital was on “high alert”. “The ECP has declared Imran Khan was involved in corrupt practices,” Gohar Khan, one of his lawyers, told AFP, adding he had been disqualified for five years.

“We are going to challenge it in the Islamabad High Court right now.”

Pakistan’s courts are usually used to tie up lawmakers in lengthy and lots of proceedings that rights monitors criticise for stifling politicalopposition tend to take place, but the commission’s involvement, in this case, stems from the obligation of elected officials to declare all their assets. The case centres on a government department known as “Toshakhana”, which during the Mughal era referred to the “treasure houses” kept by the subcontinent’s princely rulers to store and display gifts lavished on them.

Government officials must declare all gifts but are allowed to keep those below a certain value.

More expensive items must go to Toshakhana, but in some cases, the recipient can buy them at around 50 percent of their value — a discount Khan raised from 20 percent while in office. Pakistani newspapers have for months carried lurid stories alleging Khan and his wife received lavish gifts worth millions during trips abroad — including luxury watches, jewellery, designer handbags and perfumes. Khan has said he did not register some gifts on national security grounds, but in a written submission admitted buying items worth nearly 22 million rupees ($100,000), and later selling them for more than twice that amount.

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