The Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday barred former Prime Minister Imran Khan from holding political office for five years on charges that he misled them about gifts he received from foreign leaders while in power, reported the Dawn.

The verdict means that Khan would cease to be a member of the country’s Legislative Assembly and will not be able to contest elections for five years. Khan, who is the chairperson of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, will soon be facing criminal proceedings for improper declaration of gifts he received and proceeds from their alleged sale.

Under the country’s laws, government officials must declare all gifts they receive, but are allowed to keep those below a certain value, reported AFP. The recipients of such gifts can also buy them back at around 50% of their value, a discount Khan raised from 20% while in office, reported the news agency.

Khan is alleged to have been reluctant to disclose details of the gifts he got since he became the prime minister of Pakistan in 2018. From July 2018 to June 2019 Khan received 31 gifts in total and paid for only four as under the rules any gift below the assessed value of Rs 30,000 (Rs 11,200 in Indian rupee) can be retained without any payment, reported the Dawn.

In September, Khan had admitted to selling at least four luxury watches he had received while in power. Instead of buying back the gifts of his own money, Khan allegedly sold them first and then deposited 20% of their value in the government treasury for each of the gifts, reported The News. This was before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government raised the discount to 50%, according to the report.

The cricketer-turned-politician was ousted from power on April 10 after a no confidence motion was passed against him. In recent months Khan has been mobilising his supporters and challenging the current Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

In July, Khan had demanded fresh general elections in the country after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party defeated the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party in a crucial Punjab assembly bye-poll.

The country’s foreign minister and Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto welcomed the decision by the Election Commission on Friday.

“He [Imran Khan] who would spread lies about alleged corruption of his political opponents has been caught red handed,” Bhutto tweeted.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Fawad Chaudhry asked the public to protest against Friday’s verdict against Khan, reported Geo News. “This is a shameful decision,” Chaudhary said. “They have disgraced the 220-million-strong-nation.”

Meanwhile, Khan’s lawyers have said that they will challenge the order in Islamabad High Court.