A large number of PTI supporters and lawmakers On Thursday reached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Islamabad and staged a protest.
PTI leaders included Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Shiekh Rashid, Pervez Khattak, Azam Swati and others.
Speaking to the media, Asad Umar said that the electoral body is no longer functioning as a state body, but as a subsidiary of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition. He urged the chief election commissioner to resign and added that two provincial assemblies have passed resolutions against ECP and have cited a lack of confidence in the body.
The protest also saw the participation of a sizeable number of lawyers from the PTI. The party also handed over a letter of protest to a representative of the ECP.
The ECP earlier today called in a meeting in Islamabad to discuss the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protest scheduled to be held today.
Under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Irfan Nawaz Memon briefed the meeting about the security situation in the capital.
During the meeting, it was decided that PTI leaders will not be permitted to the election commission’s premises amid security threats.
“No one will be allowed to enter the ECP,” said Deputy Commissioner Memon.
Read ECP refutes claim it issued two verdicts in PTI funding case
Meanwhile, the time and venue of the protest scheduled by the PTI have been changed. The party had called for a protest at 3pm at Nadra Chowk, near the ECP building. However, the venue has been changed to F9 Park and is now scheduled to be held at 6pm.
Party chief Imran Khan is expected to address the rally at 7pm today.
It may be noted that yesterday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had warned the PTI of consequences for its planned protest in front of the ECP office located in the Federal Capital’s Red Zone.
In a series of tweets announcing the slight change of plans, the PTI chairman reiterated his allegations against the ECP and the CEC saying that the electoral watchdog had “conspired to try a technical knockout against [the] PTI after [the] PML-N got routed in Punjab by-elections despite [the] support of entire state machinery & ECP shenanigans” and called all supporters “to come out in peaceful public protest”.
Today I am calling all our people to come out in peaceful public protest against CEC & ECP in F9 Park at 6 pm. I will be addressing the gathering between 7:00 – 7:30 pm.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 4, 2022
Last night, the minister of interior affairs and PML-N leader Sanaullah had said that “every political party has [the] right to hold a protest in a peaceful manner”.
The government would facilitate and provide full security to the PTI workers if they held their protest at the designated places, he assured.
He, however, claimed that they had the reports of a possible attack on the ECP by PTI workers, who had the intention to hold a violent protest in the Red Zone.
The interior minister referred to PTI’s “Azadi March” in May, he alleged that the party had brought armed activists and ministers with them. “If this time they undertake any adventure, they will be dealt with force,” he warned.