The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has made the decision to oust Imran Khan from his role as the chairman of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Monday.
This decision comes in the wake of Khan’s recent sentencing in the Toshakhana criminal case, marking yet another setback for the former premier.
The decision was announced on Monday, following a meeting of the ECP’s Political Finance Wing. Swift action was taken to begin the process of compiling the necessary paperwork to formalise Imran Khan’s removal from the PTI chairman’s position, signaling a clear intent on the part of the electoral watchdog to uphold accountability and adherence to the rule of law.
The Toshakhana criminal case, which ultimately led to Khan’s removal, centered around allegations of misappropriation of government resources. Khan was sentenced after being found guilty of accepting gifts and privileges, which were not declared in his official records, during his tenure as the prime minister.
While the decision to remove Khan as PTI chairman has been made, the formal notification of his removal is anticipated to be issued imminently by the election commission. This development marks a turning point not only for PTI, a party that has held a prominent position in Pakistan’s political spectrum, but also for Imran Khan himself, who rose to power on the back of promises to usher in a new era of transparency and accountability.
On Saturday, PTI Chairman Imran Khan was arrested from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore soon after being convicted in the Toshakhana. A district and sessions court convicted the former prime minister in the Toshakhana case, sentencing him to three years in prison.
Rejecting Khan’s petition seeking inadmissibility of the case, Judge Dilawar sentenced the former prime minister to three-year imprisonment.
“Charges of misdeclaration of assets have been proven against PTI chairman,” the Additional and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar mentioned in his judgment.
He then handed Khan three years in jail along with a fine of Rs100,000, while issuing his arrest warrant.
The former prime minister had challenged the Toshakhana case, related to the alleged misdeclaration of gifts he took from the state gifts repository, on several forums including the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court (IHC).