PTI President Imran Khan will be speaking at the upcoming rally of party members and supporters in Karachi’s Bagh-i-Jinnah.
The former prime minister arrived at the meeting place. Currently, PTI’s national leadership takes turns speaking before Khan takes the stage.
The party’s central secretary, Assad Umar, said whenever he asked Khan for something for Karachi during his time in power at the PTI, “I’ve never heard a refusal.”
“The reason is that Khan is the only leader in Pakistan that does not belong to any one city, region, language or religion. He is the leader of all Pakistanis.
“I believe that this month in Ramazan, under the guidance of Imran Khan, the dreams of Quaid-e-Azam will come true by Imran Khan.”
Sheikh Rashid, president of the Awami Islamic Federation, a key ally of the PTI, paid tribute to the “passion of Karachi”, claiming that the city broke the record of a meeting of Fatima Jinnah for Khan.
He predicted that Khan would end the current government before May 30, and targeted PPP president Asif Ali Zardari, calling him a “thief.”
Finally, he left a message to the military. “I want to talk to the Pakistani army, we are with you,” he told the crowd, “waving the Pakistani flag so you can see Karachi holding the Pakistani flag and Imran Khan.”
Former Sindh governor Imran Ismail said at Khan’s call that the entire city of Karachi was willing to take to the streets. He claimed that his party could shut down the entire city whenever it wanted to.
“We reserve the right to shut down the city 30 minutes in advance,” he said. “We’ve done it in the past … we’re fidgety to do it again. What we need is your Khan sahab’s progress. We’ll go out into the streets and teach them lessons.”
Former Minister Ali Zaidi also criticized Zardari: “What have you done to our city and to the people of our state?
“The people will never forgive you,” he warned. “If the elections are held, there will be a PTI government in Sindh.”
PTI’s regional leadership warns MQM-P of political extinction.
Before Khan arrived at the venue, various PTI leaders from Sindh spoke to the crowd, including Faisal Vawda, Aslam khan, Khurram Sher Zaman, Haleem Adil Sheikh and Firdous Shamim Naqvi.
During the speech, the party’s regional leadership especially criticized former regional ally Muttahidda Qaumi Movement-Pakistan. Sindh MPA Khurram Sher Zaman branded MQM-P a “traitor”, perhaps referring to severing ties with the PTI at a critical time at the expense of the government.
PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi called the MQM-P “the party that destroyed the city” and predicted that the seat would be reduced to “0” in the next election.
the size of the stage
MPA Shahzad Qureshi said that the stage set in the shade of the mausoleum of Quaid was “constructed using 100 containers”, adding, “I have never seen such a huge stage for a rally in Karachi.”
The day before, Khan asked supporters to carry the Pakistani flag to tonight’s rally, adding that “the fight now is for the sovereignty of the country and for true democracy.”
PTI leader Imran Ismail said the power show would be “the biggest in Pakistan’s history” and Khan said he would speak by 9pm.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, vice president of PTI, said that even if PTI is censored, banned or blocked, people will still support an independent and sovereign Pakistan.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry has argued that “the whole country” will take to the protests and every city will present a Karachi-like scene that is the “heart” of the campaign. “People who black out this movement will be blacking themselves out,” he said.
On Wednesday, Chaudhry, along with PTI leader Hammad Azhar, called for protests across the country every Saturday to “reclaim America’s lost freedom.”
Karachi police have taken detailed security measures and, as PTI leadership has acknowledged, the party has expanded all possible support for security.
However, the party itself has a pool of over a thousand volunteers for all arrangements, including security, seating, and shuttle service transfers to take families from designated points to Bagh-i-Jinnah.
“We made a plan. For the family, we requested a route that will lead them to the Society traffic junction where they can enter Bagh-i-Jinnah via Shahrah-i-Quaideen,” said Shahzad Qureshi. “People coming via Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-i-Jauhar or University Road can park their vehicles at the VIP gates at Mazar-i-Quaid.
“Similarly, parking is available at Nishtar Park, KGA Ground, and China Ground, so families can use the shuttle service to the venue.”
PTI rallies took place less than a week after crowds gathered at the intersection of Millennium Malls across the city at the request of the PTI president to agitate for the removal of the government through a vote of no confidence.
Even PTI critics and political pundits had no doubts that the PTI would “re-prove the power of Karachi” with Saturday’s rally.
The party claimed that the show had already started and that there would not be a “crowd of less than a million” to roar with the leader of Bagh-i-Jinnah against the “chosen government”.