KARACHI: Addressing a mammoth crowd at the Quaid’s Mausoleum, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf Chief Imran Khan signaled that his party’s tsunami was reaching new heights, on its way to fulfilling his dream of forming the government.
“When I saw Tsunami in Lahore, I thought to myself it will be very difficult to top this. But today, I congratulate the people of Karachi, because they beat the [October 30] rally,” Imran said. He chanted the names of all of Pakistan’s major ethnicities as people from those groups responded. Mentioning religious minorities, he wished a merry Christmas to the Christians of Pakistan.
The PTI Chairman said a special welcome to a man he introduced as Zulfiqar Ali who had come all the way from Dera Ghazi Khan to attend the rally. “He financed his trip by selling his mobile phone!”
“I welcome Javed Hashmi to PTI. The one thing I truly admire about him is his bravery. I welcome Shah Mahmood Qureshi again,” he said. He then made the announcement that former foreign minister Sardar Asif Ali has said that he will be joining the PTI.
“The Quaid wanted Pakistan to be an Islamic welfare state, and I will make it into one,” Khan said. He said that it was at the age of 18 when he first went to Britain and understood what a welfare state is.
“I was surprised to see that every person, rich or poor, was given a free education that would enable him or her to even become the prime minister of Britain,” he said. “This is my dream: A Pakistan where every human being is valued.”
“The first thing we want to create is a just legal system in the country. We want courts that do not discriminate. We will take justice to the grassroots, to the rural areas and include everyone in the system,” Imran said. “We will provide everyone justice for free.”
“This is my promise to you: I will bring forth for you a team the likes of which this country has never seen,” Imran said. “What will this team do? Under Jahangir Tarin, this team will present policy papers on every issue twice a month. We will present policies on agriculture, transport, local government, and foreign affairs. We will present to you how Pakistan will become an independent nation.”
And most importantly, PTI will present a tax plan that will ensure that this country never has to beg for money from anybody, he said. “We will create a police force independent of political influence, based purely on merit. When I am in government, one day they will even stop Imran Khan’s own car for over speeding.”
Announcing his support for Balochistan, he said that the next stop of his ‘tsunami’ will be Quetta on March 23, 2012. “My Balochi brothers, I ask you for forgiveness on behalf of Pakistanis. We have been unjust to you. We did to you what we did to East Pakistanis. We have kept you as a colony.”
When PTI is in power, we will use the model of West and East Germany, he said. “West Germany gave East Germany special status and diverted all development to thast area. We will develop Balochistan. We will come to you, embrace you, ask for your forgiveness, and address all your grievances,” he said.
The PTI Chairman did not raise criticism against the MQM in his speech.
End of live updates
PTI Chief Imran Khan addresses the rally.
“When I saw Tsunami in Lahore, I thought to myself it will be very difficult to top this. But today, I congratulate the people of Karachi, because they beat the [October 30] rally,” Imran says. He chanted the names of all of Pakistan’s major ethnicities as people from those groups responded. Mentioning religious minorities, he wished a merry Christmas to the Christians of Pakistan.
He said a special welcome to a man he introduced as Zulfiqar Ali who had come all the way from Dera Ghazi Khan to attend the rally. “He financed his trip by selling his mobile phone!”
“I welcome Javed Hashmi to PTI. The one thing I truly admire about him is his bravery. I welcome Shah Mahmood Qureshi again,” he said.
He then made the announcement that former foreign minister Sardar Asif Ali has said that he will be joining the PTI.
Qureshi says that when he was the foreign minister of Pakistan, he expressed opinions against the US-India civil nuclear deal. However, he says President Zardari sent out a message that Pakistan will not go against any such nuclear deal.
Qureshi says that a nuclear deal between US and India severely undermines Pakistan.
If Pakistan ever signs “no first strike” agreement with India, its nuclear assets will be wasted and worthless, Qureshi says.
He “accuses” President Zardari of ruining the deterrent value of Pakistan’s nuclear program by saying ‘no first strike’ on India.
The PTI vice chairman assures the people that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are physically safe but are threatened by such “evil” decisions and such people.
Clarifying PTI’s stand on India, Qureshi says that his party wants friendship with everyone, with the US and India. But it would not tolerate slave-master relations.
“We want friendship and not slavery,” says Qureshi.
“If you want to see this country as an independent country, then vote for a leadership that has the guts to take bold stand on all such decisions,” Qureshi says.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi addresses the jalsa.
“Today, PIA, Wapda and all other institutions of the country are failing continuously but all these things can improve if the people of Pakistan decide to vote for a leadership that can bring about that change,” Qureshi says.
He said that all these failures are a result of incompetence and corruption. There are five things that everyone has agreed upon: “Firstly, democracy. Everyone wants democracy and no one is conspiring against the government. Prime Minister Gilani, it is your corruption that is a conspiracy against your own government. Secondly, justice. If you want justice in the country, vote for the PTI. The party will ensure that justice prevails. Thirdly, an independent judiciary. The present set-up has buried the concept of necessity. Fourth, free media which will promote accountability and democratic values. And lastly, Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Ensuring its security is something everyone agrees on. Would you let anyone trade our nuclear capability?” Qureshi said.
He said that as a former foreign minister of Pakistan, he knows that this programme protects Pakistan from outside threat. “Pakistan’s nuclear programme is under a five-layered security system and is of international standards. But then you wonder what the threat is about? There is no physical threat but there is a threat from certain people.”
People scream Zardari’s name. “Everyone said my comments [about Zardari] were irresponsible but I still stand by my comments,” Qureshi says.
“Go Zardari Go” trends worldwide on Twitter.
Chants of “Go Zardari Go” as Shah Mahmood Qureshi takes the stage.
“Now that Karachi has woken up, it is as if Pakistan has awaken from its slumber. I congratulate the people of Karachi for attending this historic gathering. Our mission was to heal the bruises of Karachi and unite Karachiites and today’s rally has done that,” he said.
Quaid, you provided us with a country that we have failed to protect, but today we have gathered to protect this country, Qureshi said. “Everyone can see that things are changing. I can see people smiling. I can see their eyes shining.”
“Pakistan is under threat because of our own weaknesses. No one from outside will come to help us, we have to mend things ourselves,” he said.
Javed Hashmi addresses the rally, amid shouts of “Ek Bahadur Aadmi, Hashmi, Hashmi”.
“We have gathered here for peace. This gathering, made up of the young generation of Pakistan, is the harbinger of a revolution,” the former PML-N stalwart said. “Today is the birthday of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. When he made this country, he wanted to ensure justice for Muslims of the subcontinent. Justice was his slogan and movement for justice is Imran’s slogan. This is why we have come forward to provide justice. It is the youth of this country who will achieve that.”
Talking about his former party, Hashmi said that PML-N workers also want Pakistan to prosper and progress. “I love those workers and my former party but I love the people of Pakistan more than that and that is why I have come here.”
Hashmi, who joined the PTI earlier this week, said that when he was considering joining the PTI, he was humbled by Imran Khan’s invitation. “For the first time, a leader said to me that I have never gone to ask anyone to join the party but I have come to you and not for myself but for Pakistan. How could I say no to that?”
For years, I was alone in demanding that leaders declare their assets. Now this is Imran’s voice and I would like to him that I will not back off [from my support of him], he said.
Addressing the people, he said, “Now, I hand you my 40 years of hard work. No one can raise questions over financial, social and political matters throughout my career or doubt my dedication to this country.”
Light grid on the right side of the stage (if your back is towards it) just fell forward. A group of people is standing there.
“Dil Dil Pakistan” also trending worldwide on Twitter.
PTI leader Hamid Khan addresses the rally.
ANP leader Bushra Gohar tweets about the PTI Jalsa.
Has our electronic media formally joined PTI or have they received instructions? Seem overly enthusiastic Wonder why?
Fauzia Kasuri, the women’s wing president of PTI, addresses the rally. Vital Signs’ classic “Dil Dil Pakistan” plays. PTI leader Arif Alvi also addresses the rally. Crowd persistently shouts “Go Zardari Go”.
Abrar and Haq also trending worldwide on Twitter. Earlier, the rally was addressed by PTI leaders Naeemul Haq and Asfand Qaiser. “Main Toh Dekhoonga” by Strings starts playing, as Haq ends speech with Pakistan Zindabad and Imran Khan Zindabad slogans.
Abrarul Haq makes passionate speech and recites poetry. Says PTI will win a two-thirds majority in the next general election. The government that PTI will form will be that of the common man, of the youth, not that of the VIPs, he says. The situation has changed after October 30. Under Imran Khan’s leadership, a revolution is just waiting to happen, he says.
Azam Swati, Javed Hashmi and Imran Khan trending worldwide on Twitter.
Javed Hashmi arrives at the podium. Imran Khan embraces Hashmi amidst slogans of “Ek Bahadur Aadmi, Javed Hashmi, Javed Hashmi”. Earlier, Azam Khan Swati addressed the rally. Explained his reasons for wanting Zardari on the Exit Control List and the Memogate scandal. Khursheed Mehmud Kasuri also makes brief speech.
Salman Ahmed plays the Pakistan National Anthem. Sings “Meri Awaz Suno” and “Jazba Junoon”. Earlier, musician Abrarul Haq recited a naat, which was then followed by speeches by PTI leaders Samson Sharaf, Aslam Rajput and Dr Hasan Raza.
Express News reports that Javed Hashmi is also in attendance. Junoon’s Salman Ahmed is also on stage. A large group of people has gathered outside as entrances are too narrow.
Attendees carry posters of the Aafia Movement with pictures of Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Imran Khan on them.
Imran Khan has arrived at the podium amid tight security. Takes a seat next to Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Express News is reporting at least a hundred thousand people are in attendance.
PTI workers release doves in PTI colours. Jehangir Tareen and Khurshid Kasuri have also arrived.
Express News reports that Imran Khan has departed from his friend’s residence in Karsaz and will arrive at the venue shortly. Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other senior PTI leaders are accompanying him.
PTI’s Arshad Qureshi said that the jalsa’s success had shown that the “politics of language” has ended in Karachi.
In his speech, PTI’s Waleed Iqbal said that “tsunami can create electricity, extract reserves, can start up shut down railway engines and make grounded PIA planes fly.”
Here’s what’s new on Twitter:
A sea of crowd here,even by evening Quid e Azam would announce joining PTI, #Jalsa
En Route to the Jalsa. The roads of Khi are flooded with coasters full of young people adorned in PTI flags #PTIJalsa
Dear #PTI, please enjoy your jalsa, have fun, bring Tsunami or whatever it is that you’re bringing… BUT plz don’t use foul language! Thx
Well so my one eye is on the Star World India’s Christmas episodes run and other one on PTI Jalsa :)
Musician Abrarul Haq recited a naat, which was then followed by speeches by PTI leaders Samson Sharaf, Aslam Rajput and Dr Hasan Raza, reports Saba Imtiaz. Former JUI (F) leader Azam Swati is at the event as are members of PTI’s provincial leadership and Central Executive Committee.
Journalists estimate that the crowd is in thousands. Saba Imtiaz reports that a huge cheer went up in the crowd when it was announced that there were traffic jams on Shahrah-e-Faisal and Shahrah-e-Quaideen because of the incoming flow of PTI supporters to the event. Musicians Abrarul Haq and Salman Ahmed are being touted as on the bill for performances at the event.
Express News reports that people are approaching the venue in large numbers. People are queing up outside the entrance, waiting to clear security checks put in place by PTI volunteers.
Musician Abrarul Haq has reportedly reached the jalsa venue. Haq hasn’t been the only musician who has been associated with PTI. On August 11, the Islamabad-based band Alag came out with a patriotic number called “Jaago Pakistan”, which was dedicated to PTI. Amongst other musicians, the band Soch, Alterego and pop singer Shahzaman Alam have also expressed their support. A plethora of Imran Khan’s own friends such as Ali Azmat, Strings and others who had worked with him during charity tours to raise funds for Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital have been consistent supporters of his public rallies.
Here’s the Twitter buzz:
Pti jalsa shld b v huge today….jalsa attendees wil b expecting a lot from pti leadership on stage.faces on stage wil b ur answer.
Imran Khan promises jalsa will turn into worlds largest key party. Bring your hats and spouses.
My friends have hired a truck and are attending the PTI jalsa today. Stay safe. So many jokes going round regarding CHAIRS.
:O people seemed excited about the PTI jalsa for weeks and they are going. And they are those who never were interested in politics before.
Over hundred thousand already at #PTIjalsa. This is big, no this will be huge, bigger than any jalsa anyone has held before. Power of Hope!
Saba Imtiaz reports that an announcement has been made on the stage to allow more people into the ground, and a sea of people carrying PTI flags then entered the venue.
President of the Insaf Students Federation (ISF) in Karachi, Arsalan Ghumman tells The Express Tribune via SMS:
“Protect the jalsa venue… ISF tsunami heading to it.”
Saba Imtiaz reports that PTI supporters at the jalsa say they are there because “Imran Khan can bring change in the country”.
Allahdino, who travelled from Larkana with his cousin, told The Express Tribune, that “if the leadership is good, the other politicians will work under him (Khan) and improve”. He said he would expect Khan to improve the quality of education in Sindh.
Khawar and Wazir, in their early 20s, are originally from Gilgit and study in Karachi. Their priorities for Khan are “improving the law and order situation in Karachi and giving Gilgit Baltistan the status of a province”
The boys also took pictures of each other posing with PTI flags to upload on Facebook, they said.
Khushal Ahmed Butt, who has lived in Karachi for 15 years, came to the event with his four young children. “We’ve come on their demand. We support Khan and believe he can improve the conditions of the country.”
Here’s the Twitter update:
I want to wish PTI a safe and successful rally today in Karachi on the birthday of the father of our nation!!
I sincerely wish PTI to have a good rally in the city of the Quaid. I hope the PTI leaders can explain their manifesto & strategy!
One fauji source claiming all lower staff of forces have been ordered to go to PTI rally. Private transport will appar be provided.
The fact that PTI is calling every household landline in Karachi w/ an Imran Khan recording personally inviting to the rally is brilliant.
Saba Imtiaz reports that a few hundred supporters have arrived at the venue. The organisers have started playing PTI songs and those by Shehzad Roy and Strings to get the crowd going. PTI supporters are floating a large Pakistan flag in the crowd. According to an earlier estimate by PTI, 50,000 party flags will be distributed.
PTI’s main leadership has not arrived at the venue as yet.
Sufi Abdul Jalil, known as “Chacha (Uncle) Cricket”, is also present at the PTI rally. He is Pakistan’s most famous spectator and has become a prominent fixture at his country’s matches at home and abroad for nearly three decades.
Saba Imtiaz reports that security arrangements and checks are quite thorough and are manned by the police and volunteers. There is separate seating for men and families.
According to a PTI official, there are 2,000 volunteers on duty. The ground can accommodate between 250,000 to 300,000 people. Around 50,000 to 60,000 chairs have been placed. There are separate arrangements for the press, PTI’s senior leadership, Insaf Students Federation members and families.
The Express Tribune correspondent Saba Imtiaz reports that there is a large crew of male and female volunteers at the site and flags are being distributed at the gate. Supporters are milling around but only a few dozen have made their way in.
Imtiaz reports that the roads leading to the jalsa site are festooned with PTI billboards and banners. There are a fair number of cars and motorcycles on the route with PTI flags.