Pakistan's electoral body has found that former Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) party received illegal funding from abroad, a ruling that could lead to both Khan and his party being banned from politics. The PTI has denied any wrongdoing.
Amid a heavy police presence outside the building, a three-member Election Commission bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja announced the verdict on August 2 in a case that has dragged on for years.
Pakistani legislation forbids political parties from receiving money from abroad.
The commission did not immediately comment on its ruling, but media reports said that the PTI was found guilty of receiving funding from 34 foreigners or foreign companies.
The commission found that the PTI had submitted a fake affidavit about its bank accounts, and it had determined that the party hid 13 bank accounts that should have been declared. Raja indicated that the illegally obtained money could be confiscated by the state.
A PTI spokesman denied wrongdoing, saying the funds in question were received from overseas Pakistanis, which is not illegal. Khan was not immediately available for comment.
"We will challenge this ruling," spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said.
Khan, a former cricket star, was prime minister from 2018 until April of this year when he was forced to resign after losing a confidence vote that he accused Washington of orchestrating. The United States has denied the accusation.
Since then, Khan has been rallying his supporters to press his demand for a new election. The new prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, has rejected that demand.