ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid has dubbed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Karachi rally an attempt by Imran Khan to find an exit from his ‘failed sit-in’ in Islamabad.
“Imran Khan has badly failed in mobilising public to participate in the Islamabad Dharna. Thousands of people would have come out to participate in the sit-in, if people really supported him,” the minister said.
He added that Imran had delivered at least 120 similar speeches during his 39-day-long Dharna, but no one was attracted to his anti-government campaign. “He [Imran] got an opportunity to address the nation with more than 40 TV channels covering him round-the-clock, but he miserably failed to mobilise the people,” Rashid claimed, adding that people had outright rejected all PTI demands.
Pakistan Peoples Party patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari indirectly called Imran and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri ‘politicians of the establishment’. “We cannot afford these establishment’s test-tube politicians to dominate [political] narrative. [We] will re-start politics and respond at the PPP October 18, jalsa,” Bilawal said on microblogging site Twitter.
Bilawal said that after the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, he had called for a political ceasefire – a commitment which only he had fulfilled. “I still believe this is not the time for politics and we should focus on flood-affected people and internally displaced persons (IDPs),” he tweeted.
Whn Operation was announced I called 4 political cease fire.I am the only pol who has stuck to this. 1/3— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) September 21, 2014
I still believe this is not the time for politics and we should focus on flood affected & IDPs. 2/3— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) September 21, 2014
we can not afford these establishment test-tube politicians 2 dominated narrative.Will re-start politics & respond at PPP oct 18th jalsa.3/3— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) September 21, 2014
ANP Senator Zahid Khan said that pulling a crowd in Karachi was not a big deal. “We had also gathered a huge crowd after renaming the NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa (K-P),” he said. Imran has been criticising the MQM in Islamabad but he didn’t say a word against the party in Karachi, Zahid said. “The agenda of all these parties is the same and this agenda was hatched in London.”
Zahid said Imran called for protecting Hindus in Sindh while six Sikh traders have been killed in K-P, where the PTI is in power, while 500 Sikh families have migrated from the province due to insecurity. “During the PTI government, a new trend of extortion from traders, doctors and engineers has emerged in K-P and many doctors have left the province,” he claimed.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2014.