A great deal of speculation surrounds this year’s Independence Day celebrations, particularly after the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) announced 30 days of celebrations to be held throughout the month of August.
While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have announced their plans for the 14th, it seems the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) is determined to be a part of the celebrations.
A senior PML-Q official told The Express Tribune that the party is keen to bring the PAT and PTI together against arch-rival PML-N. “The PML-Q leadership is making efforts for a patch-up between Dr Tahirul Qadri and PTI chairman Imran Khan,” the official said.
While the PTI has announced an Azadi Mach in the capital on the 14th, Dr Qadri said earlier this month that the PTI ‘tsunami’ is a small component of his party’s ‘revolution’. “I cannot understand the tsunami move and Khan sahab can tell us better about it. What I want to say is that there is no chance of deferring our revolution,” he said. The party says it is determined to bring about a ‘green revolution’ against the PML-N government.
The Chaudhrys of Gujrat are known for making and breaking political alliances and a senior PML-Q official said that even though Dr Qadri has not revealed any plans for his ‘revolution’, the Chaudhrys are trying to bring Imran and the PAT chief together. “In case the move fails and both Dr Qadri and Imran Khan fail to join hands against the government, there will be a ‘plan B’,” he added. “Both groups are against the PML-N government and both will have their own shows: the PTI will hold a rally in Islamabad while the PAT has a similar show in Lahore.”
Lahore is a PML-N stronghold and the venue of the last showdown between the government and the PAT due to a clash between party protestors and the police in Model Town last month. “The PML-Q and PAT will have their rally in Lahore,” the party official added.
Additionally, the official said the PML-Q leadership is in contact with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to discuss the possibilities of a ‘similar show’ in Karachi on August 14. “The MQM is considering the proposal,” the party official said. So far, the MQM has not announced any rally scheduled for Independence Day.
Asked if the PML-Q is approaching the PPP, the official said, “The PML-Q has contacted PPP leaders to join hands.” He referred to the recent visit to Dubai by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, saying “the issue had been discussed”.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2014.