1,000 flock to hear cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan speak in Birmingham | Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
<p>MORE than 1,000 supporters of cricket legend turned politician Imran Khan laid siege to a Birmingham venue as he arrived on a fundraising drive.</p> <p>Hordes of people were locked out of the Pearl Palace in Digbeth as the former Pakistan all-rounder spoke to drum up backing for his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.</p> <p>Mr Khan arrived two hours after the event began but was cheered as he gave a speech in Urdu and English.</p> <p>Among those who had travelled to hear him speak was 33-year-old Mohammed Rafiq.</p> <p>???Pakistan is changing for the better, but we need to overcome a lot of problems,??? said the private hire driver from Walsall. ???Imran Khan isn???t going to change things on his own but he has got ideas which are starting to influence and inspire Pakistanis.???</p> <p>The pro-democracy PTI was founded by Mr Khan in 1996.</p> <p>Since then, the profile of the party has grown but 2008 saw candidates tear up or burn papers after the Chief Justice of Pakistan was put under house arrest by the President, General Pervez Musharraf.</p> <p>The PTI has claimed the lack of an independent election commission, independent judiciary and continued corruption are holding the country back.</p> <p>Iftikhar Mumtaz, aged 62, a retired bus driver from Small Heath, said: ???Pakistan has a dilemma because we like Imran Khan and what he is saying but people aren???t voting for him. There are some who see him just as a celebrity and not as a politician but things are changing in Pakistan.???</p> <p>Source:&#160; <a href="http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2009/07/20/1-000-flock-to-hear-cricketer-turned-politician-imran-khan-speak-in-birmingham-97319-24190752/">Birmingham Mail</a></p>