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Pakistan bans ousted prime minister from holding office for five years

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been banned from holding office in the country for at least five years due to a corruption scandal that came to light following his ouster earlier this year. File photo by Chamila Karunarathne/EPA-EFE
1 of 3 | Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been banned from holding office in the country for at least five years due to a corruption scandal that came to light following his ouster earlier this year. File photo by Chamila Karunarathne/EPA-EFE

Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The Pakistan government has banned its former prime minister from holding office in the country for at least five years due to a corruption scandal that came to light following his ouster earlier this year.

Imran Khan, the embattled chairman of the Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI party, was sacked Friday in a unanimous vote by the five-member Election Commission of Pakistan, led by Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja.

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The decision means the 70-year-old leader cannot become a member of parliament, where he had been staging a comeback after being forced from office in April following a no-confidence vote.

Khan, who remains extremely popular with the public, blasted the ruling and called on his supporters to stage protests throughout the country.

In national elections held Monday, Khan won widespread support while his party won six of eight seats in the National Assembly, while also picking up two of three provincial seats.

Friday's decision to sideline Khan was related to his failure to reveal money he made on gifts from foreign dignitaries, which came to light in August after a member of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz alleged the former prime minister purchased gifts he previously received at a discount from Toshakhana -- the state gift depository -- and resold them for profit.

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Khan also never listed the proceeds in financial disclosures to the election commission.

The report led the coalition government to file a formal complaint with the national election board, seeking to disqualify Khan from future office. The hearing into the matter wrapped up on Sept. 19, and from there the board took five addtional weeks to reach its final decision Friday.

He has previously accused Raja of being biased.

Khan is also facing charges under the country's antiterrorism act for allegedly threatening law enforcement and judicial officials during a speech he gave condemning the high-profile arrest of his chief of staff.

Khan's legal team announced it would appeal the decision to Pakistan's supreme court.

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