LAHORE: While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will be going to Raiwind on September 30 with a new agenda of Panama leaks investigations, the venue of the rally is really old. The party has already held two rallies at Adda Plot in the past.
Though development projects have changed the face of Raiwind over the years, it is the same site where PTI Chairman Imran Khan held a public gathering in the early days of the party, people living near the rally venue told The Express Tribune.
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A resident of Janjate Pind, Haji Asghar Ali, revealed his elder brother Ghulam Qadir had organised a public gathering and a membership campaign for the party in the initial days.
Imran’s second visit to the venue came in 2007, when the PTI joined the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM). The alliance consisting of thirty-two political parties, including the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, came together against the military rule of Pervez Musharraf.
PTI senior leader Omer Sarfaraz Cheema says the PTI chief was among the top leaders at the APDM-led political gathering.
The plot is a junction on Raiwind Road around three miles away from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s splendid residence in Jati Umra. The PML-N has remodelled the whole area by widening roads, developing green belts and infrastructure. Rapid urbanisation has further changed local dynamics but still most neighbourhoods give a rural look.
Manzoor Hussain, a resident, told The Express Tribune that areas around Raiwind Road and Thokar Niaz Baig belonged to Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash, who served as the chief minister of West Pakistan.
Later, his daughter Begum Afsar Raza Qizilbash, who served as a minister in Mohammad Khan Junejo’s cabinet between 1985 and 1988, donated around 18 acres of land to the people in Janjate and its neighbouring villages.
PTI psyches itself up for Raiwind march
While there was a small Janjate Pind bus stop on Raiwind Road back then, after distribution of plots people started calling this bus stop Adda Plot.
Adda Plot falls under Union Council 259 which has around 20,000 votes.
Local residents, Mehdi and Sagheer, said originally the area was a stronghold of the PML-N but the trend changed in the 2013 general elections when Gujjars, Bhattis, Jutts, Rajpoots and Kambhus shifted their loyalties to the PTI.
However, traders and shopkeepers in the vicinity of Adda Plot have expressed displeasure over the PTI’s public rally in the area.
A rickshaw driver believed the political gathering would cause serious traffic gridlocks in the area that would ultimately hurt his business. He conceded the PTI was taking a principle stand but added the political parties should pay attention to public problems.
Though the PTI has arranged car parking on a nearby plot, most residents and traders are worried about security.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2016.
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