Pakistani Cricketer Draws 100K+ to Rally

Politician attracts followers with anti-US message
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 25, 2011 4:10 PM CST
Pakistani Cricketer-Turned-Politician Imran Khan Draws Massive Rally
Supporters of Pakistani former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, hold their party flags as they gather during a public meeting in Karachi on December 25, 2011.   (Getty Images)

More than 100,000 people rallied in support of Pakistani cricket legend and opposition politician Imran Khan in the southern city of Karachi today, further cementing his status as a rising force in politics. His message of cracking down on corruption and standing up to the US has found new resonance at a time when Pakistanis are fed up with the country's chronic insecurity and economic malaise. "I promise all you people that we'll create a new and respectable Pakistan that will never beg to anyone if you bring us in power," Khan told the cheering crowd.

The 59-year-old Khan entered politics 15 years ago when he founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or the Movement for Justice Party, but has struggled to translate his fame into votes. Recently however Khan has attracted prominent politicians to his party. National elections are not scheduled until 2013, but Khan and other oppositions have been pressing the government to hold earlier polls. He has been holding large rallies, which are especially popular with the country's urban middle class youth. Many of the people at today's rally were young Pakistanis wearing Western-style clothing. (More Imran Khan stories.)

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