Imran rocks Karachi: They came, they saw, he conquered

Published: December 26, 2011
For many of the people who attended the PTI rally on Sunday, it was the first time that they had participated in a political gathering.  PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN AND NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

For many of the people who attended the PTI rally on Sunday, it was the first time that they had participated in a political gathering. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN AND NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

For many of the people who attended the PTI rally on Sunday, it was the first time that they had participated in a political gathering.  PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN AND NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS For many of the people who attended the PTI rally on Sunday, it was the first time that they had participated in a political gathering.  PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN AND NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

When people poured into the rally early on Sunday, sections of the ground seemed to arrange themselves into little microcosms of the greater class system prevalent in the country. But as the numbers grew, the lines blurred.

What most people in the family enclosure had in common was that they had never attended a political rally before.

Some of them were overseas Pakistanis. Naqi Sharif, who is from South Africa and follows Imran Khan on Facebook, said, “We want to come out of the drawing rooms and onto the streets.” Karachi resident Anila Weldon, who runs a support group for mothers, said, “The passion itself has brought me here. I have no expectations.”

For many of these first timers Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf represents what they have been missing out on for years – someone to awaken them.

Majid Mehmood, an engineer, came from Saudi Arabia to Karachi to see his aging mother.  And to attend Imran Khan’s rally.  In the dusty ground, where the PTI rally was held, he along with his six- year-old son chanted slogans for Khan.

“I want to come back to Pakistan and work here, close to my family,” he said in a mix of English and Urdu. “I don’t know why but Imran Khan gives me hope. I want change, security and a better future for my children.”

Taliban Khan

Many came with hope.  “My friends think I’m crazy but I’ve come from Riyadh just for this rally,” said Safwat Khalid draped in a PTI flag. “Imran Khan is not a career politician. He will run the country like a company.”

Listening in on the conversation,  his friend Fouzan from Karachi chipped in “before Imran Khan, we never voted because we felt nobody deserved it.”

Common criticism against Imran Khan is that he is a ‘Taliban apologist’ and some nicknamed him ‘Taliban Khan’. But Canada-returned Uzair Dadabhoy disagreed. “I am not anti-USA but there is no military solution to the war in Afghanistan or in Pakistan and Imran Khan understands that.”

Along with the young hip crowd, there were many who had been supporters of religious parties. “I am a prayer leader at a masjid,” said a man, in his late forties as he held a party banner. “I just like this man.”

There were girls in t-shirts and burkas, boys sporting Khan tattoos and others in traditional attire.

Even Chacha Cricket showed up at the rally, wearing his trademark green long shirt and holding a Pakistani flag. “Imran won us the world cup,” he said. “He built a cancer hospital for poor people. I am sure he can save the country.”

It’s all business 

Jawwad Awan, a graphic designer, was selling white t-shirts with “Kara-Che” printed over a picture of Imran Khan. “Khan and Che are both revolutionaries. One used weapons and the other is using the ballot,” he said. He said he was selling the shirts for Rs300 a piece, earning just Rs50 in profit.

Besides samosas and pastries, which were being sold by about a dozen men, Niswar and Baloch Gutka was also on offer. Nawab Khan had a small stall set up right near the entrance. “Niswar is selling well,” he said, laughing. “But there are a lot of customers for John Johnny and Raza Mawa,” he said, referring to concoction of betel nut and tobacco.

Tens of thousands of people flooded the ground as well as adjoining roads, the wall of the Quaideen flyover and rooftops of nearby buildings.

Mudassir Ahmed, 25, came with his friends. “I am an Urdu-speaking and I really don’t care if Khan is a Pashtun,” he said. “He speaks against corruption and that is the language I want to hear.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Saad
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:42AM

    thats the spirit people……. lets forget for once we are Pustun’s, Sindhi’s, Punjabi’s and Balochis and work together to change our fate by changing the fate of Pakistam. InshAllah we will be one of the most advanced Muslim countries in the world.


  • Rana
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:43AM

    IK’s best words
    “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.”

    brought tears to my eyes :(… I hope its not too late to make it right.


  • Saad
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:48AM

    Good show by Imran Khan but not a new one. Old wine in new bottles under the Khan brand.


  • someone
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:56AM

    The CHANGE is here. Proud to be part of it.


  • Muhammad Nadeem
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:15AM

    Brace yourself. Change is on the way….


  • dr j tipu
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:18AM

    luv u imran khan……………………all mine and family’s vote coming your way IA………..!!!


  • Sharjeel Fraz
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:38AM

    It’s simple, if you love Pakistan then vote for Imran khan…


  • sunny
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:40AM

    Hope Imran wont fail the sentimental pakistani people.


  • Frank Observer
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:41AM

    It would be an absolute travesty if the people of this country don’t give Imran a chance. Please register your votes and bring this guy into power. The other two parties are tried and tested and have repeatedly dissapointed and stolen the wealth of the nation. It’s time for a change. Give Mr. Khan a chance please


  • Imran
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:08AM

    We love IK and Karachi…..


  • zia ur rehman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:23AM

    I think it was biggest rally in the history of Karachi!!!


  • zia ur rehman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:24AM

    I reckon that there will be more crowd in Quetta rallay then both of Lahore and Karachi, because people of quetta and Balochistan are desperate and are looking for a leadership, who is ready to give the Balochs their due share….


  • usman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:27AM

    There is only one people that can change Pakistan… we Pakistanis.


  • aysha
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:33AM

    Great to see Imran khan in Karachi. May the better team win.

    I really wish PTI had waited until their first real election victory before opening doors to long time politicians. PTI would then have successfully shown the world that they did not need electable faces and their philosphy was enough to attract the masses. The likes of Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi will steal their thunder.

    Karachites are large hearted people. They were sadly ignored after 1992 world cup victory, when they were waiting in the wee hours of morning in Ramadan to greet their team at the Karachi airport, but were disapponted because the team decoded not appear before public.Great to see Karachites welcoming PTI.


  • Usman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:39AM

    As expected, you have conveniently ignored Mehmood Qureshi’s comments regarding NCA and how Zardari tried to undermine our Nuclear Asset’s use capability. What are your motives?


  • ihtisham
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:29AM

    Can establishment bring 3,00000 people from evey ethnic & age group. A worriying question for PML(N).


  • wsd
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:32AM

    Yes we Khan…….Welcome to the new dawn, the hope for Pakistan.


  • Abdul
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:33AM

    Well indeed this is the spark we needed for decades of years to bring out of Pakistan what Iqbal dreamed and Quaid made possible in the beginning.
    God bless you Imran.


  • Ali
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:50AM

    Thanks Karachi.


  • zehra
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:24AM

    show your love for pakistan , vote for imran khan, register your selves now!! the attending of jalsas follwoing on twitter facebook will have no impact/ meaning if you dont register you self!!

    nothing can be more dangerous than a IK unregisterd supporter right now!!


    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:41AM

    smart karachi..!!


  • Beatle
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:35AM

    Well the same gathering of 300,000 (100,000 – 120,000 according to neutral observers) add further to already existing many questions and doubts.
    -Who is the real sponsor of the shows, and who is bearing the cost.
    -Who is alluring all the run-aways, and on what avarice.
    Everyone knows that Thunders are very strong, but do not last long and cause vast devastation.


  • kashif
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:45AM

    I realy proud to be a part of PTI. Welldone Captan. Welldone Young youth.


  • Falcon
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:48AM

    Thanks to all Karachiites for making the rally a success.

    On a side note, I like how the picture on the top was taken with PTI’s flags in the foreground and Quaid’s mausoleum in the background.


  • Dec 26, 2011 - 12:16PM

    Good show by Imran, congratulations to the team PTI for hiring the creative Ad Agency to make the event successful.


  • Fauzan Naeem
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:04PM

    I was there.Recommend

  • when reality face philosophy
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:46PM

    i can’t see a change. what happened in Egypt is going to happen in pakistan but not by a violent mean but a “democratic”one. but we r here tribune is here and imran khan is here after one or two year all the air will be gone from this baloon.


  • Zulfiqar
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:50PM

    @ Beatle
    You should follow PTI compaigns to get this information from where the funding is coming. For this jalsa, there were many fund raisers by PTI.


  • Zulfiqar
    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:51PM

    Imran Khan is the only hope and thats what people have realized. All the best to Imran Khan, PTI and Pakistan.


    Dec 26, 2011 - 4:54PM

    I have heard this many times and i want to reply to it :

    i.e “Old wine in news bottle”
    so i say :
    Thats good if its purified and its quality is improved and sold legally. I am willing to buy it because even if its same wine its better than past one so technically some betterment will come.

    Any more questions ?


  • zeeshan
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:18PM

    a greatof IK….Thanks KARACHIITES


  • zeeshan
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:20PM

    love u IK


  • Usman wayn
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:43PM

    We must register our votes first and convert this crowd into registered votes.


  • Aftab B
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:45PM

    Couldn’t make it to Jalsa but we support you 1000 percent. Can’t wait for the next election


  • toor khan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:08AM

    imran the king khan!


  • antanu g
    Dec 27, 2011 - 12:50AM

    pakistanis are getting out of slumber…this is the biggest achievement of the legend.Remember guys…bad politicians are elected by good people..who do not vote. break this stigma and bring the change.your awakening will change the entire south asia.good luckRecommend

  • Usman
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:52AM

    As someone associated with PTI for over 12 years, I was deeply disappointed by the text of Imran’s speech and the presence of certain people on the stage that most workers in the party consider persona non grata. I was appalled that the great Khan failed to utter a single word to pay homage to the PTI workers who died at that very place on May 12; never mind criticizing the facist and terrorist party that thrives on the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Pakistanis! If you are to sacrifice the truth for political expediency, then how will people differentiate between you and the PPP’s grand ‘reconciliation’ (read ‘allowing culprits to get away with murder’).


  • trtk
    Dec 27, 2011 - 1:53PM

    John Johnny and Raza Mawa + Niswar ==== convention of drug addicts!


  • Fahad
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:04PM

    @Usman: There was an understanding under which PTI was permitted to hold this Jalsa in Karachi. IK was not permitted to say anything against them and in return the jalsa was all peaceful…he had to take that route for the bigger victory. I can understand your sentiment but you have to understand the greater perspective…the show of power in Karachi has sent the message that we are sick and tired of the way this city is run…i think IK without uttering a single word has sent out a strong message!!


  • nauman younas
    Dec 27, 2011 - 9:25PM

    Karchi at its best during during PTI rally. Well done karachi. We all r looking for Imran.


  • Sid
    Dec 28, 2011 - 1:32AM

    It is all wishful and rightly so. But in a heat of a moment, not to forget the historical facts of our electorate system. The majority of the uneducated class under the influence of the feudal landlords holds the key towards the outcome. They are compelled to show their loyalties to their Jagirdars and Vaderas. Therefore yearning for a kind of change is a far cry.


  • Yasir Jamali
    Dec 28, 2011 - 1:58AM

    I am Baloch and I was there at the jalsa ! I may be one of only few Baloch in majority of Phatan and urdu speaking crowd, but I was as Pakistani as others were, I belive this man will do wonders to our land and InshALLAH one day all Baloch people would be as Pakistani as Iam today. Love IK LOVE PAKISTAN


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