Khan, a former cricket star, has appealed his conviction at a high court in Islamabad, the Associated Press reported, and the case is likely to be heard on Wednesday.
Calling the election commission’s move to bar him “premature,” Sayed Bukhari, an adviser to Khan, tweeted that the “government is trying to eliminate Khan from the political landscape of Pakistan.”
The intent, Bukhari said, was to bog him down with “frivolous” cases if and when fresh elections are held.
The rapidly moving political developments highlight Pakistan’s continued instability since Khan’s ouster in April last year, after he clashed with the country’s powerful military over appointments and criticism of his handling of economic issues.
But a defiant Khan went on to garner mass public support through large rallies. In November, Khan was shot in the foot during one such march, and in recent months key aides and members of his party have quit or been jailed under an intensifying crackdown.
Khan has said he is under attack because of his popularity. In an interview with the BBC a day before his arrest, he said that his party would win in elections. “And because of that, they’re dismantling our democracy.”
He is not the first former prime minister to face such disqualification. In 2018, Nawaz Sharif was banned from electoral politics for life after being found guilty following a corruption scandal.