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Pakistan Election Commission rejects nomination of former Prime Minister Imran Khan for 2024 general elections

The Election Commission of Pakistan has rejected the nomination of former Prime Minister Imran Khan to contest from two constituencies in the 2024 national elections, officials and his party’s media team announced on Saturday, news agency Reuters reported. Since stepping down as Prime Minister in April 2022, the 71-year-old former cricketer has been stuck in a maze of political and judicial challenges. He has not been seen in public since he was sentenced in August to three years in prison for illegally selling government goods from 2018 to 2022.

Khan is barred from running in the national election scheduled for February 8 due to his corruption conviction, but according to his media team, he filed candidacy papers for the election on Friday.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, in a list of rejected candidates from Lahore, said Khan’s candidature was rejected because he was not a registered voter in the seat and he “had been convicted by a court of law and has been disqualified.”

According to his media team, the Commission also rejected his nomination to contest from his hometown Mianwali.

Khan, largely considered the country’s most popular leader, claims he is being targeted by the country’s strongman army, which wants to keep him out of the elections. The army has denied this.

Last week a high court had refused to overturn Khan’s ban on running in the election.

Apart from Khan, nomination papers of other top members of Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), including vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, have been rejected by the Election Commission.

Meanwhile, weeks after a court overturned two corruption cases, the Election Commission accepted the nomination of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from two constituencies for the 2024 elections.

However, Sharif still needs to lift a lifetime ban from holding public office, so it is unclear how his nomination was accepted. There will be a hearing on liquor prohibition in January.

In 2017, the Supreme Court barred Sharif from contesting elections, declaring him dishonest for failing to disclose money received from his son’s company.

Sharif, who returned home in October after four years of self-imposed exile in Britain, is seeking a fourth term as prime minister in elections to be held in February. His biggest task will be to regain his support base from Khan.

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