Election campaign: To avoid clashes, MQM postpones NA-246 rally

The rally was supposed to kick off at Ayesha Manzil and end at Jinnah Ground with Altaf Hussain's address.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has put up life-size posters at this building in Karimabad as part of its campaign for the NA-246 by-elections. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/ EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) postponed its rally scheduled for Saturday afternoon to avoid any clashes with other parties contesting the NA-246 by-polls.

The rally was part of the MQM's election campaign for the by-elections on the seat left vacant by Nabil Gabol who resigned from the party some time ago. The party had planned a grand event for Saturday but, merely hours before the rally was scheduled, MQM chief Altaf Hussain postponed it to keep the environment peaceful.

According to a press statement from the MQM, the rally was deferred because of fear of a clash. As other political parties are also holding their rallies today, MQM has called off its rally for today, keeping in view Hussain's message of peace and love, stated the press release.

The rally was supposed to kick off from Ayesha Manzil and end at Jinnah Ground, where Hussain was scheduled to address the crowd.

MQM's candidate for this seat, Kanwar Naveed, was confident their party will win the by-polls. "We do not need to hold many rallies to woo our supporters," he told The Express Tribune. "We don't have any competitor in the constituency and holding a rally will merely lead to conflicts and clashes."

Naveed said that the voters are highly charged and they decided to postpone the rally to avoid any untoward situation.

Meanwhile, Jamaat -e-Islami's candidate for the by-poll Rashid Naseem asked Hussain to teach his vision of love and peace to his party activists. "Why does every other party clash with the MQM?" he asked. It would have been better had Hussain's party representative shown the same gesture of peace when the JI rally was passing by the MQM camp yesterday (Friday), he said.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Arsalan Ghumman denied any chances of clashes from their end. He did feel, however, that MQM activists were beyond their chief's control and are ready to clash despite Hussain's repeated orders to stay calm.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2015.


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