Party of Pakistan’s popular ex-premier Imran Khan says he’ll contest upcoming elections from prison

Party of Pakistan's popular ex-premier Imran Khan says he'll contest upcoming elections from prison © Provided by The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s former premier Imran Khan will run in upcoming parliamentary elections from prison, his party said Wednesday, which legal experts said is possible while his appeal of his conviction in a corruption case is being considered.

“Imran Khan has decided to contest elections for three seats in the National Assembly,” or the lower house of parliament, said Gohar Khan, head of the former premier’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, or PTI. In Pakistan, politicians usually run for a seat from more than one constituency to expand their chances of winning.

The 71-year-old former prime minister, the country’s most well-known opposition figure, is serving at a high-security prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. He was removed as prime minister in April 2022 following a vote of no confidence in Parliament by his political opponents.

Khan was disqualified from holding public office months ago. But he has challenged the ruling by the country’s election commission.

Kanwar Dilshad, a former commission official, said Khan’s political rivals may object to his filing of nomination papers.

“Imran Khan will have to fight a long legal battle to contest the elections, as technically he is eligible to run for the parliament, but practically there are multiple cases against him,” Dilshad said.

This week, Khan for the first time used artificial intelligence to deliver a speech to supporters. The surprise development could help his party to win the upcoming elections in February, according to analysts.

His spokesman, Zulfiqar Bukhari, said Khan will contest the vote in the cities of Lahore, Mianwali and Islamabad.

Khan has had almost no contact with the outside world since he was imprisoned in August on a corruption charge. He faces a slew of other legal cases that could make it difficult for him to contest the election.

Khan came to power in 2018. Since his ouster in 2022, he has alleged without providing evidence that his government was toppled by former premier Shehbaz Sharif as part of a U.S. plot — claims that both the premier and Washington have denied.

Sharif and his elder brother Nawaz Sharif, who has served three times as premier, have also announced their candidacies for parliament. Their Pakistan Muslim League enjoys an edge over Khan and his party.

Source: Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press