Parliamentary elections in Pakistan: the candidacy of former Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected

The candidacy of imprisoned former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and those of most of his supporters in the February legislative elections have been rejected, his party officials announced on Sunday (December 31)

Parliamentary elections in Pakistan: the candidacy of former Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected

The candidacy of imprisoned former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and those of most of his supporters in the February legislative elections have been rejected, his party officials announced on Sunday (December 31).

Imran Khan – detained since August – claims the military has colluded with dynasties in power for many years to crush his populist movement and prevent him from running in elections as a leading figure for his party, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI).

“Nominations of almost all PTI national and provincial leaders, including Imran Khan, have been rejected,” party spokesperson Raoof Hasan said after nominations for the poll closed.

A final list of candidates on January 23

The official clarified that "90% to 95% of [the] candidates' files [of the party] were rejected" to Agence France-Presse (AFP), denouncing a strategy aimed at preventing PTI candidates from running in the elections. “All tactics are used for this purpose, but under no circumstances will we leave the political field and boycott the elections,” he said.

An official of the electoral commission explained to AFP that several candidatures of PTI members had been rejected, including that of Imran Khan, on the basis of legal convictions.

The commission is expected to announce the final list of candidates on January 23. The PTI's protests over the exclusion of many of its members from the electoral process are likely to result in legal action or before the electoral commission.

“We will participate in the elections and appeal all these decisions in each of the constituencies and use all our constitutional, legal and political options,” Hasan said.

Imran Khan, 71, was ousted last year after falling out with Pakistan's powerful military leaders who backed him to power in 2018. In opposition, he led an unprecedented campaign against military personnel who directly ruled the country for much of its history.

He accused them of having precipitated his fall from power through a vote of censure via a plot supported by the United States and of having fomented an assassination attempt against him which resulted in his injuries.

After the unrest that followed the first incarceration of Imran Khan in May, the PTI suffered a vast repression, seeing its leaders imprisoned or forced to leave the party.