Imran Khan, a former prime minister of Pakistan, is not permitted to hold public office. NPR

Pakistan imposes a 5-year ban on the holding company of former prime minister Imran Khan. Expand this picture Rahmat Gul for AP

switch to caption Rahmat Gul for AP Rahmat Gul for AP In Islamabad. Imran Khan was barred from holding public office for five years by Pakistan’s elections commission on Friday after it was discovered that he had improperly traded gifts from the government and disguised assets while prime minister, according to officials.

The action is likely to exacerbate already-existing political unrest in the impoverished Islamic nation, which is already dealing with food shortages, a spiraling economy, and the fallout from this summer’s unprecedented floods, which claimed 1,725 lives, caused hundreds of thousands of displaced people, and increased cases of malaria and other flood-related diseases.

Khan, who was deposed in a no-confidence vote in the parliament in April, has been mobilizing supporters against the new administration and requesting early elections as of the time of the commission’s announcement.

In protest of the commission’s decision, dozens of irate Khan supporters gathered outside its offices on Friday in the nation’s capital, Islamabad. The compound was surrounded off by security and paramilitary personnel, preventing the throng from entering.

Imran Khan will now be tried in a court of law, according to interior minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, who is not related to the former prime. The commission’s disqualification would endure for five years, according to Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, and the group had also recommended that Khan be tried for asset concealment.

The interior minister addressed Khan and remarked, “You have never gained so much money in your entire life than you did by selling the gifts given to you by rulers of foreign countries.”

According to officials and legal professionals, Khan would automatically lose his position in the National Assembly as a result of Friday’s ruling. According to Pakistani law, the commission, which is independent of the judiciary, has the power to remove politicians from office.

Khan has no other option except to fight the commission’s ruling in court.

KHAN’S ATTORNEYS HAVE REFUSED THE CHARGES MADE AGAINST HIM. Fawad Chaudhry, a top official in Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, denounced the choice and asked Khan’s supporters to demonstrate in the streets. He claimed that Khan was free to serve as the leader of his party. Khan’s attorneys have refuted the accusations against him, claiming that he ‘purchased back’ the presents from the government and then legally sold some of them.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a different top party official, declared that their legal team would contest the commission’s judgment.

A well-known lawyer, Balkh Ser Khosa, said earlier on Friday that Khan was disqualified as a result of selling governmental goods that other nations gave him when he was in charge. Khan, according to Khosa, concealed from tax officials the money he received from those sales.

In another area, hundreds of Khan supporters stopped traffic in the northwest city of Peshawar by blocking a major road. Small protests were also held elsewhere, including in Karachi, a port city.

SECURITY FORCES ARE DEPLOYED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN THE CAPITAL According to local media accounts, Khan’s supporters briefly fought with police in Rawalpindi before dispersing after security personnel used batons and tear gas. To preserve peace and order, the government sent more security personnel to Islamabad.

The events occurred just days before Khan was anticipated to declare the start of a new march on Islamabad in an effort to compel the Shahbaz Sharif administration to call early elections.

Khan held a march on Islamabad in May following his removal but called off the event as violence broke out and his supporters fought with police. Since then, he has pledged to hold the decisive stage of his political struggle in Islamabad.

The commission’s judgment came after Sharif’s coalition government petitioned for action against Khan amid claims that he had illegally sold gifts from other heads of state while he was in power. Such gifting is standard in many nations, but even while Pakistani officials are permitted to buy back the gifts, they are typically not exchanged for cash. People are required to report any sales as income.

Sharif, according to Khan, overthrew his administration as part of an American plot, claims that both the prime minister and Washington have refuted. Khan’s call for early polls was also rebuffed by Sharif’s administration, which announced that the vote would go place as scheduled next year.

Later on Friday, Sharif tweeted that nobody was above the law. Khan, “who would propagate misinformation about alleged corruption of his political opponents has been caught red-handed,” the foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote on Twitter.

Khan, who took office following the 2018 elections, had good rapport with Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa at first. In Pakistan’s 75-year history, the military has held direct power for more than 50 years.

Later, Khan openly challenged Bajwa’s decision to name a new espionage head to succeed Khan favorite Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed. Hameed was ultimately removed by Bajwa, which sparked a disagreement between Khan and Bajwa and ultimately resulted in the removal of the prime minister.

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