Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, currently in jail, lodged a plea with the Supreme Court on Wednesday, contesting the dismissal of his nomination papers for two National Assembly seats in Punjab province ahead of the February 8 polls.
Last month, the nomination papers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader were turned down for two National Assembly constituencies in Lahore and Mianwali districts of the province. The rejection cited “moral grounds and being convicted in the Toshakhana (national treasury gifts) corruption case.” Khan had previously petitioned the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the rejection, but the court upheld the decisions of the returning officer (RO) and appellate tribunal.
In his plea to the apex court, Khan requested a declaration of eligibility for contesting the elections in the specified constituencies, news agency PTI reported citing Geo News.
“The notification of disqualification under Article 63 (1)(h) is ineligible,” the plea stated, as per the report.
Arguing that Article 63 (1)(H) requires a moral crime for disqualification, the petition emphasized that the Toshakhana corruption case conviction did not involve moral grounds.
“The decisions of the returning officer, Election Tribunal, and high court should be declared null and void,” the plea asserted.
Earlier on the same day, an accountability court sentenced the former prime minister and his wife, Bushra Bibi, to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case. This development came following a previous 10-year jail term handed to Khan for leaking sensitive state secrets.
In the Toshakhana corruption case, Imran Khan faced accusations of retaining expensive state gifts received during his tenure as Pakistan’s premier.
The court also barred Khan and his wife from holding any public office for ten years and imposed a fine of Rs 787 million each.
On Tuesday, Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi received a 10-year prison sentence from a special court for leaking sensitive state secrets. Imran Khan is currently serving a three-year jail term after a conviction on corruption charges.
With general elections scheduled for February 8, these legal challenges add further complexity to Khan’s political situation.