Islamabad: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan today sought the reconstitution of Pakistan`s election commission into a strong and independent institution as he held a large protest here against the alleged rigging in last year`s general election.
Addressing thousands of protesters in the heart of the federal capital, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief demanded formation of a new fully independent election commission and vote verification in four constituencies his party has pointed out before.
He presented a 9-point charter of demands that aims to make the election process free and fair. Though there was a large gathering at the event, it did not match the hype that surrounded the whole event. Khan had claimed it would be a "tsunami" of people this evening.
His party has alleged that police had been preventing many of their supporters from coming to Islamabad though Khan said in the rally that the police had eventually sided with his party "disobeying government orders".
Just a few kilometers away, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri held a rally in Rawalpindi which he addressed through video. Qadri is based in Canada.
Meanwhile, demanding reconstitution of the election commission, Khan said those responsible for "35 punctures" must not be made part of the new EC.
He also demanded that overseas Pakistanis be given the right to vote as per Supreme Court orders. Announcing the next protest rally, which will be held in Faisalabad on May 23, he said that if election rigging was not investigated, there will be protests in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) offices every Friday.
Incidentally, his supporters also carried banners against Geo TV, which the party has boycotted over its alleged support to "rigging".
Strong security arrangements were made for the rally. The police had sealed access to the sensitive Red Zone that houses all government installations and even the Diplomatic Enclave, with containers.
Paramilitary Rangers and Punjab Elite Force commandos guarded the zone. Similarly, a 3,500-strong police contingent and police helicopters were also put into action.