PTI rally: Imran lights up Karachi

Published: December 26, 2011
Around 200,000 people from all backgrounds attend; Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali is latest high-profile recruit. PHOTO: AFP

Around 200,000 people from all backgrounds attend; Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali is latest high-profile recruit. PHOTO: AFP


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan looked entirely assured at his party’s rally in Karachi. With a slew of big-name politicians under his belt and attendance by hundreds of thousands of people from Karachi and other districts in Sindh and Punjab, Imran addressed the crowd with his usual mix of rhetoric, emotions and a few well-placed jibes, all set to a catchy soundtrack.

Imran said he wanted to “present his programme to the people”, which comprises reforms in the legal system, police, land records, taxation, civil service, National Accountability Bureau and education so that Pakistan can become “the Islamic welfare state it was envisioned to be.” PTI plans to organise seminars to introduce its policies, being developed by a team headed by former MNA Jahangir Tareen.

Imran also apologised to the people of Balochistan and said the province had been “treated like a colony”. He says PTI’s next rally will be in Quetta on March 23, but made no mention of who was responsible or would be held accountable for the human rights violations in the province.

Imran also announced that Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali was joining PTI, the newest high-profile recruit after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Javed Hashmi joined the party on Saturday. He said his team would not be “one based on referrals”, so there was “no point in flattering Imran Khan”.

As the lights shone at Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum opposite the venue, Imran said that like Quaid-e-Azam, no one would be able to allege that he had misappropriated funds.

While a slew of PTI leaders spoke at the event, it was Hashmi and new recruit, musician Abrarul Haq, and to a lesser extent, Azam Swati, who drew the longest applause and appreciation. Hashmi’s emotional speech, drawing on his decades of experience in politics and the time he spent in jail, hit a strong note. “People began looting the country. People were divided into different classes. There was a Pakistan for the rich and the poor. The poor have no personal security while the rich roam around with 1,000 police officers.” He invoked Quaid-e-Azam’s spirit and said, “We are ashamed. We will need to work for the future.”

He said he was bestowing his political capital on the young PTI supporters, recalling that he started his career at a young age, and said “We are with you”.

The crowd chanted ‘Brave man, Hashmi’ (Bahadur aadmi, Hashmi), and there was a roar of applause for the former PML-N stalwart when he said he had argued for decades in the assemblies that politicians needed to stop stealing from the poor and stockpiling their assets, and also when he noted placards by the ‘Aafia Movement’ and spoke about Aafia Siddiqui.

Attendees at the event – who belonged to every ethnic, social and age group – had never attended a political party event before. Many told The Express Tribune that they were inspired by Imran’s message of change and hope, as well as his publicly stated resolve to rid Pakistan of corruption.

PTI leaders drew from that message. Azam Swati criticised the current government over the Memogate crisis, terming former and current ambassadors Wajid Shamsul Hasan and Husain Haqqani as people who “licked the president’s shoes” and called Salmaan Farooqui a criminal.

Musician Haq’s stirring recital of a poem and his talk of the hopelessness young people face in Pakistan which inspired him to join PTI and the need for a revolution were well-received. While Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the huge turnout in Karachi will have “disturbed the slumber” of many politicians, the PTI will probably have slept soundly after the success of its event on Sunday.

Number Crunching

There was no official figure available as of the time of filing this report. PTI Sindh claimed that up to 450,000 people had attended, “given that the ground had a capacity of 250,000 and that the surrounding roads and the Mazar-e-Quaid ground itself was packed.” A police officer deputed at the rally said his personal estimate was 300,000 including the people on the roads and in the mausoleum.

(Read: Imran’s dream team wows Karachi)

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

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Reader Comments (80)

  • Organ of Big Profit
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:13AM

    God Bless PTI!


  • Kashif
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:17AM

    We love you Imran. I can already see new Pakistan in the making. Future is bright INSHALLAH


  • wsd
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:28AM

    The change is on its way……. Karachi is the hardest city for such a Jalsa for reasons well known to all but PTI pulled it off with flying colors…….Some time ago I read some where that a great leader is the one who united people of different backgrounds behind a common cause.about everyone. Today when all othe rpatires are focused on divisions ( some flaunt Sindhi topi,other Punjabi pug and some talk about Mohajirs only) Imran talked about every ethnicity, every sect and every religion. Imran united karachi and Pakistan and this is why he is a true leader…..


  • Hukabukka
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:30AM

    “Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.”


  • CaptainCookesPeerSahib
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:59AM

    Won the world cup for your country-

    State of the art Cancer hospital built for your country-

    World Class educational establishment built in the Punjab countryside-

    Social work ✔- Almost Unparalleled

    Next prime minister Of Pakistan ✔ – Imran Khan qualifies.


  • Bilal
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:14AM

    ANP seats are in danger…MQM seats seems intact because of their performance under Mustafa Kamal atleast for next elections.


  • riz
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:25AM

    PTI will bring much awaited change in the country


  • Shah shaikh
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:26AM

    Weather it was 200,000 or 300,000 it doesn’t matter, what we saw in Karachi was a miracle! No expected that the jalsa would be this successful. Thank you Mr. Khan we are for a welfare. God bless you.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:30AM

    Peoples are jealous and called him Taliban Khan but he is Pakistan khan go imran go.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:52AM

    Who would not go when there was so much entertainment.


  • KR
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:07AM

    Hello Mr. Imran Khan if you can somehow figure out to eliminate corruption with some comprehensive plan (not just empty promises). Some kind of plan where there will be no corruption, equal right for all, tax citizens fairly regardless of their religion or social class you will have my vote along with millions of other fellow citizens will vote for you. And please for the sake of our country we the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are running out of time, it is now or never and please don’t forget being a politician is not a way to get rich or abuse the power, it is a way to help others and lead them towards positive future not to leave them in dark and go in self impose exile just like plenty of other cowards have done in the past.


  • ali
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:46AM

    All was well and I enjoyed Imran and his party recruits talk!Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:48AM

    For changes, the people of Pakistan please do wait for that. Only prayers will save us not by IK or any other politician.


  • Not me
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:58AM

    I used Google maps and estimation method developed by University of California at Berkeley journalism professor named Herbert Jacobs. I came to a crowd estimation at PTI Karachi event (both inside the grounds and outside ) at between 2,55,000 to 2,75,000 ( the difference is due to applying different density numbers).

    One thing I found: PTI has a very weak think tank on economic and tax issues.They need to strengthen it very quickly.Some out of box thinking is needed to solve the economic challenges face by the country


  • Baqar
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:58AM

    Javed Hashmi stole the show….”Haan mai Baghi hoon”….apart from tht its refeshing to see tht next elections will usher change


  • JJ
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:59AM

    *I not belongs from any POLITICAL party of PAKISTAN.On Hearing 25th “JALSA OF IMRAN”in karachi i estimated he will not get more then 50 seats in NA elecation across PAKISTAN.Anyways GOOD LUCK “IK”.*


  • The Flying Object
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:05AM

    Ya ALLAH plz help Imran. We want change now…


  • mira
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:20AM

    Is there any chance for overseas Pakistanis to get registered in voters list now?? wont to cast a vote after a long time, so motivated. We sincerely hope and pray that May Pakistan become a peaceful place in near future, Ameen.


  • Bilal
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:22AM

    IK hasn’t done any project so far for Karachi, despite the fact which he also admits many times that most of funding he gets from Karachi.

    Also, If he want to win hearts of Karachities, he should explain why he declared the innings in the test match when Miandad was making double century!!!!


  • Qazzafi
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:26AM

    PTI rocks!


  • Ali
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:29AM

    i congratulate Karachiites for a big show and being a Lahori i must confess that gathering was much bigger than Lahore ,now a healthy competition is on and we wish to surpass the numbers in next rally in Lahore. I am so much thankful to you Karachiites you won our (Lahoris) heart. Live long Karachi with peace.


  • HAR
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:29AM

    Don’t get to exited! wait and see, because all faces are same old politicians who have a background of exploiting the conditions in PAKISTAN for their own reasons.

    question to JH? why he did not talk about the corruptions and wrong doing in PML-Butt(N) when he was part of them.

    SMQ? till you were part of PPP and minister, you did not find any fault in Zardari, now you are talking about national integrity.

    Please open your eyes and try to figure out who is running the show?


  • Saqib
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:40AM

    YeY thats a good signs, we love to see imran in Power as a Prime Minister, and I am sure MQM and Imran has already unspoken mutual understanding to work together.


  • saleem ullah
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:40AM

    well done ‘ PTI , now the nation can hope for a good change.The people must be educated about the Agenda and road map in very clear terms.


  • Dec 26, 2011 - 9:43AM

    Imran was in karachi yet he did not say a single word against MQM, neither any speaker give any example of MQM. it is reality MQM provides a beating wicket to Imran. who pressurized MQM for this? imran never talk about his cases against MQM. how the real power brokers , nationally or internationally, compelled MQM to kept silence before this rally is an interesting study yet MQM & PTI supporters in media will also tries to avoid it.Recommend

  • M Bilal
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:47AM

    IK Rocks, PTI Rocks and yes we Karachites Rock…!!! IK for PM and PTI for government…!!!


  • Aina
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Having 200,000 people from Karachi is not even half percent of its population……!!!!! Do we call it a success??????


  • Ali Hamza
    Dec 26, 2011 - 9:58AM

    Pakistan Zindabad… Well done IK. It feels great to be a part of something BIG


  • pervaiz memon
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:00AM

    i am residence of parsi colony near nisther park . i am witness of lot of political rallies also i visit this jalsal gha and surrounding . Main points 1) Lot of young people both boys and girls ,also family were present 2) vary charge atmosphere 2) most of people were came on their on own vehicles ex. big cars , small cars , lot of bikes and mini buses . I never see such huger parking vehicles even vehicles are park in nisther park which far from main place . 3) lot of young pkhutoon were present .4) Not size able urdu speaking , sindhi and baloch were present 4) Lot of money were spend one of the most expansiveness political rally . 5) Vary well organizes and free atmosphere and people were fearless its look like change karachi 6) Administration of sindh vary cooperative or at least they did put any Obstruction


  • zehra
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:17AM

    it was great, the biggest success is that he has rekinlded our hope. we have started caring for the system. the change will come for sure however we also need to change, you cant expect the corruption to go away if we dont change, dont break the signals, dont bribe to get out of trouble, remove kundas, pay your bills, say no to snatching of haq. this is the foundation of the new pakistan, we have finally a leader lets vow to play by his rules and make it a real change rather than merely a cosmetic one!!


    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:17AM

    Its a Imran wave in Pakistan and he would most likely be the next PM of the country. However, the path ahead is not going to be a bed of roses for him especially dealing with the internal militancy and economy which would need his immediate attention.


  • Murshid
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:19AM

    No matter what Imaran Khan do, PPP will make the next governement, People came to jalsa, but they never vote for him. Long Live PPP


  • sdfdsf
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Jihad, Sharia and Khilafah are the only solution. Immediately break out, by force, Aafia Siddiqui from carswell medication detention center in fort worth, and immediately locate and rescue her son suleyman, who is now 8!


  • Fahad
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:26AM

    Pakistan Zindabad.GO Imran GO Imran


  • Atif Nooe
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:40AM

    I totally agree with you @Aina:


  • Noman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:42AM

    we will tell our generations proudly inshALLAH, we lived in the era when ‘Imran Khan’ was here…!


  • Noman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:45AM

    Raise Hands to our Next Prime Minister which history will categories among leaders like Mao Zedong.


  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:01AM

    I hope that the PTI vision for reform remains 20×20 and the slew of political defectees from the old system do not blur it. Javed Hashmi has been my childhood idol and any country would be proud to own him as a son, any political party should be proud to have him as a senior leader.


  • Newsreader
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:33AM

    @Murshid: PPP has maintained for years a core vote bank of 28%, enough to win the elections as long as all the right wing votes are split among atleast 3 or 4 parties. PTI’s surge is good news for Bilawal. The question I want to ask, and I’m no fan of anyone except QA-MAJ, can PTI erode that even nominally? If yes, IK should be taken seriously. If not, then PTI is just sharing the PML (all factions)common vote bank. It’s a simple question of numbers and unemotional analysis. PPP, MQM and ANP are left wing parties and together control the vote bank in Pakistan. IK is not seen as a left wing guy. So in my humble opinion, IK=PM is still a far cry, as much as I would like to see that to happen.


  • Newsreader
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:50AM

    Karachiites have nowhere to go on the weekend . That was a good outing, free music and nice entertainment. A nice break from the high intensity, rather nerve wrecking meetings. Having said that, I do wish PTI/MQM will, by joining hands to complement and not compete, change the culture of Karachi to that of a gentler, kinder city.Recommend

  • sajid imran
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:55AM

    Imran khan didn’t speak up against MQM, America also.what was this.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Dec 26, 2011 - 11:55AM

    There were more than 500000 people at the jalsa and I witnessed it! Proudly attended the jalsa standing in the first row. May Allah bless Imran Khan.


  • Overseas Pakistani
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:03PM

    Well managed one. Especially, the idea of a “MILLI-NAGHMAY” and patriotic songs after every speech has worked greatly. Even hats off for the team who managed all live coverage and tuning sounds greatly.


    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:08PM

    Long Live Pakistan and Long live PTI.

    Thank you Imran Khan for giving HOPE to the youth of Pakistan.

    I was delighted to see my two sons raising slogans for Pakistan at this Jalsa.

    No can stop this CHANGE now inshallah.

    Some supporter of other parties would remain in denial phase.

    All suppoter of PTI need to work in order to bring 2/3 MAJORITY for PTI


  • Amazed
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:10PM

    CNN reported it was around 3.11 million. #Not.


  • Dec 26, 2011 - 12:20PM

    wah imran khan wah, “Ah giya ey tey chah giya ey”. we youth welcome the change and hope our pakistan will be better under your command line. all the best we are with you.


  • kamran
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:23PM

    Imran khan say he stop war with MQM but continue to battle with PML-N WHY??Recommend

  • Amadeus
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:57PM

    I am waiting for the day when I can drive a Maserati courtesy of the party’s fantabulous mind-bogglingly amazing economic policies, and the way it can generate enough electricity to power up the earth, as well as jupiter.


  • Noman
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:59PM

    @Aina: Salaam,
    Is Karachi population 40,000,000 (4 crore) ? Strange ! No one from Karachi know that !
    More than 22% of pakistani are living in one city only & Punjab’s population is 10,000,000 (10 crore). This means that more than 77% of pakistani are in Punjab & Karachi. I’m sure you’ve got the statistice wrong !


  • Ahad
    Dec 26, 2011 - 1:03PM

    Imran and his team should have visited Jinnah’s grave to pay their tribute on his birthday. Its really sad that he forgot about this.


  • M. Imran
    Dec 26, 2011 - 1:04PM

    In every political party there are GOOD people with clean background but those parties are not a good platform for them, those parties are only taking advantage of them and their good character, they all should join PTI which is the looking to be in the right direction and good will.


  • MK
    Dec 26, 2011 - 1:36PM

    does anyone know who the main speaker/announcer/orator was for the karachi rally? The young-ish guy with the resounding voice like Tariq Aziz (of Neelam Ghar)?? if so, please tell!!! thanks!!


  • ihtisham
    Dec 26, 2011 - 1:39PM

    Insha allah one day Imran Khan will bright up the whole pakistan.


  • waqas
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:00PM


    are you an idiot? you are basing him winning a political career by telling people of karachi about a cricket match?


  • Muhammad Rohaan Sadiq
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:02PM


    You are right that it may not be the biggest in the history of Karachi but it was one of the biggest conventions took place in a decade or so. The reason why 100% didn’t turn up is the insecurity in the minds of the people of Karachi. I know many people who didn’t attended just because they were concerned about their safety which Karachi never offers to its citizen, apparently due to the political unrest which triggers and destabilises the city every so often, claiming many precious lives. .


  • waqas
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:04PM

    To everyone who is badmouthing and doubting PTI and Imran Khan i just have to say one thing. You have given everyone other than him a chance and they did nothing but loot the country. Lets give him a chance, he cannot be any worse than those who have previously ruled the country.


  • sohail
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:22PM

    Only ALMIGHTY ALLAH will fulful his dreams but We must be patient, supportive & have to pray for his success. Luck favour the brave & honest. People are having lot of hopes & Umeed with him & his party.


  • faisal
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:39PM

    Best of luck Imran Khan is next prime minister


  • Maria
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:45PM

    I was there!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)


  • Dec 26, 2011 - 2:46PM

    Immi, you are adorable. Whatever issues you mentioned, good, but an advice to you: solve them from the root and not just trim the tree. Just be honest. May Allah be with you.


  • Asim Malik
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:04PM

    I neither watch the Political addresses live on tv. Just to get overview watch at headline news.
    First time we friends gathered & watch the whole jalsa like a cricket match. Whole nation was watching on their televisions,online & big screens don’t know about the exact numbers but figures will be in billions.


  • Mansoor
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:07PM

    @Murshid: lol murshid u gotta be kidding, with same govt performance.. they will come i next election lol


  • AMCH
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:30PM

    Imran Khan & PTI had to go through 3 phases;
    Phase 1 was taking people out of their homes and gather them to listen the address and participate into campaigning as potential voters… is near to completion. (16 years struggle behind that so well done)
    Now lets see for decisive phases…. 2 & 3
    Phase 2 is the announcement and then the execution of free & fair elections (very tough- near to impossible)
    Phase 3 converting the rally audience into voters by inducing them to use their vote at election day (relatively easy due to such strong series of campaign and congenial environment at polling)
    I believe if phase 2 gets through, PTI may rule the country this time- my last hope for Pakistan !!!!!!


  • TM
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:06PM

    @ those complaining that 200k people aren’t a sizable percentage of khi’s population. A political rally or event isn’t meant to draw the people of an entire city to one location as this is logistically impossible, specially for a city pushing 20 million people (even more if its, as per your strange estimation, 40 million!!). The size of a rally (along with the audience demographics, response, mood etc) is one of the measures used as a representation of the public opinion, and in that respect this rally would definitely have to be considered a success. Moreover, one has to take into consideration the historically volatile nature of Khi politics, none of which have drawn such massive and diverse crowds


  • Cynicalisto
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:52PM

    Good for you.


  • Aina
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:01PM

    My observation was not only about Karachi but Sindh as a whole. But even if we talk about Karachi only, crowd of 200,000 comes to 1.5% as per population of Karachi reported in wikipedia. Do we still call it a sucessRecommend

  • ProudPakistani
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:35PM

    I m in love with PTI


  • Bilal
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:57PM


    Mind your language troll,

    His attitude towards Urdu speaking has always been biased. I gave just one example.


  • Cynicalisto
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:26PM

    Unbelievable. The arrogance, just at the dim prospect of winning based on net practice. This Khan dude is just another sleek guy courting the opportunist career politicians and making baseless overpromises (eg he will end the pervasive corruption in the society in six months.) I’m having a blast at the naïveté of his supporters. Read my lips: he is selling illusions.


  • Fawad
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:29PM

    Whats do you expect should 1 caror people attend the Jalsa come one you are just talking non-sense.@Aina:


  • Fawad
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:42PM

    You are the most stupid man I have seen, Imran Khan has got more important jobs in hands than to fight against MQM, Mr. did you not want a peaceful jalsa at Karachi. @kamran:


  • Gen Pasha (retd)
    Dec 27, 2011 - 2:41AM

    Is this man a clean shaven mullah?


  • Blithe
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:18AM

    a man’s word is his bond….
    Imran has lied to us repeatedly.
    Now PTI is dead – there is no ideology.

    It just about getting landlord-cum-pirs and
    cartel runners to ensure seats.
    Doctrine of necessity has ensured that PTI
    accepts all the rot from PPP and Q league.


  • Nonpartisan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 4:05AM

    @Blithe: What do you expect. IK is turning 60 soon. How much longer can he wait? There’s obviously a sense of urgency. Anything goes whentheres time pressure. If he’s not a PM by 2013, then when? He looks and acts better than the ‘jewels’ of Nawabshah and Raiwind.
    Substance? Forget it.


  • Shayan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 4:11AM

    Well to all those “unbelievers”. Allah split the moon for unbelievers and still they did not believe.

    We gathered the spirit of Pakistan and they do not believe.

    Imran Khan will take oath as PM and they will not believe.

    Moral of the story: Our own belief is all we need.


  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    Dec 27, 2011 - 4:31AM

    Oh dear kaptaan, please don’t follow the path of others to drag poor islam in politics. Alhamdolillah, I am a muslim and ardently and devotedly believe in my religion. However, this is my keen observation that islam in politics is onjhly good when the entiree population is practicising muslims. It’ws a very lengthy subject and I don’t want people to misunderstand my point of view. More than 80 percent of today’s problems of pakistan are the direct result of ziaul haq’s over-indulgence of islam in the statecraft domain. You should learn from the mistakes of past rulers. Before implementing an islamic welfare state, better make the people true muslims in all respects. Only then, you can make the country a truly islamic welfare state.


    Dec 27, 2011 - 11:57AM


    The whole croud offered FATEHA for our beloved father of the nation just in front of the Mazare-e-Quid.You dont have to physically stand in front of a person’s grave to offer prayers.Your criticism is not a valid comment.


  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Dec 27, 2011 - 8:36PM

    @Ahad I think it was more important that the Quaid’s vision is followed and his words emphasised. Celebrating birthdays of dead people or visiting graves in my view is macabre but of course everyone has a right to hold an opinion on such matters.


  • NAM
    Dec 28, 2011 - 11:18AM

    I am afraid,that people aroung Imran khan will lead him to failure i.e. No change at all,these people of PPP, MQM, MLN,so what they do, it is evident to all.


  • Habib
    Jan 20, 2012 - 8:53PM

    great Show. Sonami.


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