Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan along with the party’s top brass converged in Gujranwala on Thursday for a rally that attracted a throng of supporters.
Hundreds of supporters assembled in Gondalanwala Chowk before PTI leaders arrived at the location, and thousands more flooded the Grand Trunk (GT) Road and the overhead bridge which led to the intersection.
“Let’s unite to solve the problems of this country,” Khan said from the makeshift platform on the back of a truck, to a surge of applause. “We’re going to take this tsunami all the way to Islamabad, and we need your support,” he said.
Khan was flanked by the party’s vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood and President Javed Hashmi. A small contingent of female supporters also gathered near the stage.
While Khan spoke briefly, local politicians who preceded him roused the public by speaking against corruption and the soaring energy crisis. Members of the crowd carried placards supporting local PTI leaders and banners protesting electricity and gas load-shedding.
Many residents claimed the problem had worsened over the last year in the industrial hub, and forced massive manufacturing setups to grind to a halt. With over 35,000 workers laid off in Gujranwala’s ceramics industry alone as a result, Khan chose the right rallying cry for his party when he decided to protest load-shedding in Gujranwala.
“We’re unemployed because the government does not know how to handle the energy crisis,” said Kashif Mehmood, a factory worker who recently lost his job. “We’re going to vote for people who will fix this problem,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2012.
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