KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) may only be “90% sure” that Shah Mehmood Qureshi is joining the party but it will still be attending the former foreign minister’s rally in Ghotki on November 27.
PTI Sindh president Naeemul Haque briefed reporters on Friday about party chief Imran Khan’s upcoming visit. Khan is expected to cross the Sindh border on November 27 and will attend the Ghotki rally. They are estimating that 10,000 to 12,000 supporters from the Punjab and another 5,000 to 7,000 from Sindh will come along. After the Ghotki rally, Khan will visit Sukkur, Larkana and Pir jo Goth, where “influential Sindh leaders” will announce that they have joined the PTI, including a relative of Pir Pagara. Haque also said that Karachi’ites such as Oxford University Press head Ameena Saiyid have joined PTI.
While Khan will not be visiting Karachi on this Sindh tour, he will be in the city a few days prior to the party’s December 25 rally, which he reportedly believes will be bigger than the one in Lahore. According to Haque, “This rally will be a historic one – if not the most, then at least in the top 2. We have submitted an application to the government and expect to receive approval soon.” Haque said that the party does fear that the government may deny permission, but has no concrete information on this front. While no time has been announced for the rally yet, Haque says the party expects Karachi residents will attend, as well as people from Sindh, Punjab and Peshawar. “PTI is the only political party that can bring together people of all ethnic groups,” said Haque.
On Thursday, Christians asked the PTI to change the rally’s date as it coincides with Christmas. However, the party believes that the rally will not cause them any problems or make it difficult for them to reach any church in the vicinity of the rally’s venue. “We have Christians in the party as well and have their support. It is also Quaid-e-Azam’s birthday that day.”
When asked whether the PTI had been in touch with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) or invited it to attend, Haque said, “We have not been in touch with any party.
The MQM is allies with the corrupt Pakistan Peoples Party government and until they stop supporting President Zardari, it will be very difficult to work with them.” The PTI is also preparing for the 2013 elections and expects to have over 60 candidates ready for the National Assembly seats by December.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2011.