Wpk_220804 PTI protest-1659623178249
Imran had called for a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan building in Islamabad, but when the government beefed up security he changed the venue to F-9 Park. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Thursday urged supporters and workers of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party to protest against the election commission.

The call comes in the wake of the poll body’s verdict that said the PTI had benefited from illegal overseas funds.

The PTI chairman accused the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of joining hands with the government to “hatch a conspiracy” against his party. Imran alleged that the poll panel has refrained from ruling on funding its main rival, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Peoples Party of Pakistan.

He said, “the CEC and the ECP, with blessings of the imported government, conspired for a technical knockout against the PTI” after PML-N faced humiliation in Punjab’s by-elections.

“Today I am calling all our people to come out in peaceful public protest against CEC & ECP in F-9 Park at 6pm,” he posted on Twitter.

Earlier, Imran had called for a protest outside the ECP building, but when the government beefed up security, he changed the venue to F-9 Park.

“We will go to the Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan against the Election Commissioner as he has insulted us by calling us foreign-funded,” Imran said.

A day earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had warned the PTI workers against taking the law into their hands. “We would not grant the PTI supporters permission to enter Red Zone and protest outside the ECP,” he said.

Addressing the media with Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Sanaullah said any misadventure from the PTI would attract strict action.

Sanaullah said the government is aware that the PTI could attack the ECP in the name of protest. “PTI wants to spread anarchy and mischief in the country,” Rana added.

Ahead of the PTI protest, Islamabad’s district administration on Thursday sealed the Red Zone and restricted movement at entry points of the federal capital.

Entry into the Red Zone is banned for protesters. Law enforcement agencies, including anti-riot force, Rangers, FC and police, have been deployed around the area.

Entry into the Red Zone will be allowed only through Margalla Road, police said