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Thousands Protest In Islamabad Against Pakistani Prime Minister Khan

Supporters of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of opposition parties, protest outside the head office of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on January 19.

ISLAMABAD -- Thousands of opposition supporters have rallied in the capital, Islamabad, against Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is accused of illegally raising campaign funds from outside the country.

An alliance of nine opposition parties staged the demonstration on January 19 demanding the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to decide on a six-year-old complaint against Khan for raising funds from the United States.

The ECP has been putting off the decision for years despite several inquiries.

Authorities beefed up security by deploying thousands of police and troops ahead of the protest in front of the ECP office, where barbed wire had been erected to protect it along with the Supreme Court and the Parliament House.

Under Pakistan's election law, a political party cannot accept funds from foreigners.

Opposition Groups Accuse Pakistani Prime Minister Of Illegal Campaign Funding
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Legal experts said Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) could face a ban for undermining the country’s security for accepting funds from abroad and not maintaining the trail of donors for the 2013 elections.

A close aide, who later broke ranks with Khan, filed a "foreign funding" complaint in 2014 with the ECP over his fundraising, saying the money might have been sent to Pakistan illegally.

The PTI last week had admitted raising the campaign funds but blamed illegalities on its "unspecified" agents in the United States.

The rally in Islamabad was held as part of a series of protests by the opposition demanding Khan's resignation and fresh elections.

It alleges that the 2018 parliamentary election was rigged by Pakistan's hugely influential military in favor of Khan’s PTI party and that the prime minister is being propped up by the generals.

Both the military and the ruling PTI party reject the allegations as baseless.

With reporting by dpa