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Imran Khan facing ban from politics over foreign donations

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Imran Khan still commands significant support in Pakistan after being ousted as prime minister. Photo: Caren Firouz/Reuters

Imran Khan still commands significant support in Pakistan after being ousted as prime minister. Photo: Caren Firouz/Reuters

Imran Khan still commands significant support in Pakistan after being ousted as prime minister. Photo: Caren Firouz/Reuters

Imran Khan is a “certified liar”, his successor has said after Pakistan’s electoral commission ruled his party illegally accepted millions from foreign donors.

The ousted prime minister faces an indefinite ban from politics after a ruling concluded that since 2008 his Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party accepted donations from more than 300 individuals and companies abroad, including in the United Kingdom, as well as hiding bank accounts.

The results of the five-year investigation will be referred to the Pakistani government, which is expected to seek a Supreme Court ban on Mr Khan and the PTI, who are currently in opposition.

The investigation into Mr Khan was started by the founder of his own party, Akbar Babar, after the pair had fallen out.

Political parties in Pakistan regularly face accusations of corruption and it is illegal for a party to receive money from abroad.

Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, said Mr Khan was found to have “violated the constitution, submitted false affidavits and accepted foreign money”.

He continued: “[It proves] yet again that he is a certified liar. The nation should ponder over the implications of his politics funded by foreigners.”

The ruling is a further blow to Mr Khan, a former international cricket captain, who was ousted as prime minister in a no-confidence vote in April, shortly after a dispute with the country’s powerful military.

Mr Khan still commands considerable public support, particularly among the country’s middle classes and youth, and has been leading a campaign against Mr Sharif’s new government.

“We will challenge this ruling,” said Fawad Chaudhry, Mr Khan’s party spokesman, adding that the funds received were from Pakistani nationals living overseas, which is not illegal.

Mr Khan has been calling for early elections after pulling off a shock defeat of Mr Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League in July in Punjab, the country’s most populous province.

He has been able to capitalise on growing public anger over a worsening economic crisis, with food inflation reaching 30pc and a third of Pakistan’s youth unemployed.

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Soaring global food and fuel costs, caused by the war in Ukraine, have caused Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves to dwindle.


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