The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) heads back to Sindh on Saturday for a rally, and plans to focus on the province’s major political concerns in the months ahead.
The party’s February 25 rally in Umerkot is being organised by the Ghousia Jamaat, followers of PTI vice chairperson Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader who has served as foreign minister.
“We are coordinating with them,” PTI Sindh General Secretary Dr Hasan Raza told The Express Tribune.
Qureshi chose Ghotki – instead of his base of Multan – to formally announce that he was joining PTI at a November 27 rally that largely comprised Ghousia Jamaat members, who consider Qureshi their spiritual leader.
The PTI’s efforts to build a niche for itself in the province have not yield much yet. Despite the success of its rallies in Ghotki and Karachi, no prominent Sindh-based politicians have jumped ship to the party.
Qureshi met several political leaders during his visits to Karachi, including Sindh United Party president Jalal Mehmood Shah, but the nationalists are still wary of the PTI.
Qureshi also attended the funeral of Pir Pagaro VII last month.
The party believes the Umerkot rally will show “those who hold claim to Sindh” that the Imran Khan-led party has a visible presence in the province.
“The people of Sindh have no facilities, there is inflation,” Raza said. “The area that we have chosen for the rally, Tharparkar, is one of the least developed.”
According to the PTI, chairperson Imran Khan will be taking a more active role in promoting the party in the province in the months ahead.
Khan told a delegation of journalists from the Sukkur Press Club earlier this week that the party will be travelling across Sindh to persuade people that they need to support the “wave of change”.
A press release issued by the party quoted Khan as saying that his “travels through Sindh made him realise that interior Sindh was as backward as Balochistan with feudals and Sardars holding sway” and that “no leader had really done anything for the poor people of these regions.”
Qureshi and Khan are scheduled to arrive in Mirpurkhas and will reach Umerkot by 1 pm for the rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2012.