The trial centered on a telegram that Khan cited as evidence that his removal as head of government was the result of a conspiracy involving the United States and the Pakistani military. The powerful US and Pakistani militaries reject Khan's claims.
Khan was removed as prime minister in a vote of no confidence in April 2022. In August 2023 he was sentenced to three years in prison for corruption. The verdict was later overturned, but Khan remained in prison on the much more serious charge of leaking state documents. The former head of government rejects the accusations as politically motivated.
Portal There are repeated clashes between Khan's supporters and security forces
The opposition's chances before the elections are severely limited
A new parliament will be elected in Pakistan on February 8. Just weeks before the elections, the country's Supreme Court drastically limited the chances of the main opposition party. Judges banned Khan's PTI party from using its party symbols on ballot papers, it was announced in mid-January. Hundreds of PTI politicians will therefore have to contest as independent candidates.
This will make it difficult for the more than 100 million eligible voters in the populous South Asian country to find their favorites in the February 8 elections. Party members condemned the decision. A close confidant of the former prime minister even spoke of “fake elections” in nuclear energy.
Former Prime Minister Sharif may run again
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was allowed to contest the elections. The 74-year-old could become prime minister for the fourth time and his PML-N party is considered the favorite. He was banned from parliament for life by the Supreme Court in 2018 after being convicted of corruption. As the judges explained at the beginning of the year, such a political ban will only apply for five years after conviction. Both Khan and Sharif experienced political decline after falling out of favor with powerful generals.
APA/AFP/Arif Ali Sharif supporters at election rally in Lahore
Since the state was founded in 1947, there has been repeated unrest and instability in the South Asian country, which lies between India and Afghanistan. The military, which for decades was considered crucial to the rise and fall of politicians, governed for more than half that time.
Pakistan’s independent human rights commission, HRCP, earlier warned of “blatant manipulation of the electoral landscape”. “At this time, there is little evidence that the next elections will be free, fair or credible,” HRCP said in a statement.
Increases Taliban attacks
The Pakistani Taliban have been carrying out more attacks for some time, but announced late last week that they did not want to disrupt the parliamentary elections with attacks. The Islamists explained that their attacks generally targeted security authorities. “We have nothing to do with the parties that participate in the elections”, they continued. However, they emphasized that democracy was incompatible with their ideology.
The Pakistani Taliban operate independently of the Taliban government in neighboring Afghanistan, but they also strive to strictly enforce Islamic Sharia law. In the past, there have been repeated attacks in Pakistan during election times.