Where the party’s at: PTI supporters throng rally to catch glimpse of Imran

Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, Chairman of political party Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) waves to his supporters. PHOTO: REUTERS

Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, Chairman of political party Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) waves to his supporters. PHOTO: REUTERS

PESHAWAR: Most people gathered at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Tehreek-e-Ehtisab rally were just there for the entertainment and to catch a glimpse of party chairperson Imran Khan. Many admitted they were unaware of the basic purpose of the rally.

PTI kicked off its Tehreek-e-Ehtisab rally against corruption across the county on Sunday. In K-P, the rally started from Peshawar and would march through to Khairabad, with stopovers at five points. These included Pabbi, Akora Khattak, Jehangiri and Khairabad on the GT Road. The rally would be led by Imran  and other senior leaders.

However, the scorching heat played its part and some of the enthusiasm dwindled as workers from Malakand, Dir, Karak, Bannu, and DI Khan reached Peshawar, but were unable to withstand the temperature. Many left before Imran reached the scene.

Holding party flags and riding in decorated vehicles, many of the workers, when asked about the basic purpose of the rally, expressed their ignorance. Sher Khan, 30, did not even know the movement’s name and said he was in attendance just to see Imran.

Sher works at a furniture factory in Peshawar and said he wanted to enjoy the gathering with friends on his day off. “I like Imran Khan because he raises a voice for the poor, but we are dissatisfied with PTI lawmakers in Peshawar as they do not look after voters’ rights,” he said.

Bashir Ahmad, from the PK-2 constituency of MPA Shaukat Yousifzai, said his elected lawmaker had not asked anyone to attend the rally. The voter said he was in attendance with a few friends to take a stand against corruption.

A party worker from Peshawar district, Ihsan Khan, also slammed the performance of provincial ministers. He said they ignored party workers over the past three years.

Meanwhile, a PTI MPA, requesting anonymity, said members of a pressure group within the party had come to campaign against corruption. He said the weak showing at the rally in the district displayed that workers were diminishing by the day. He blamed the attitude of ministers towards workers for these circumstances. He said PTI was losing its strength in Peshawar as MPAs failed to gather many supporters.

A police officer assigned to the event said PTI workers were well in control, unlike the past. Even he felt that the strength of the party was dwindling.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, K-P Assembly Deputy Speaker Mehar Taj Roghani said people from southern districts had joined the rally in Peshawar. She added workers and supporters from Charsadda, Mardan, Pabbi, Nowshera and other areas would join them on the way to Khairabad. She believed the youth would campaign against corruption till it was eliminated from the country.

Meanwhile, district members hired vehicles for their supporters to bring them to the rally. The organisers had fixed 10am as the arrival time and 10:30am for Imran’s speech. However, the party chief and other leaders reached the venue at 12:30pm and delivered speeches by 1pm.

In the other districts, a rally of around 2,000 PTI workers, led by Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai, started marching toward Mardan. They merged their rally with Minister for Education Atif Khan’s procession at Pakistan Chowk at around 1pm. Meanwhile, PTI MNA Murad Saeed also led a huge rally from Swat and people joined in. All three PTI members marched with thousands of people toward Nowshera Bridge on Kabul River. They ultimately joined the PTI workers from Peshawar.

In the southern areas, the minister for revenue also led a massive rally of PTI workers the areas of Kohat, Karak, DI Khan and areas of Hangu. Also, displaced people from North and South Waziristan, who are currently seeking temporary shelter in Bannu, took part in massive numbers. All the supporters from the southern areas joined Imran’s container rally at Pir Zakori Bridge in Peshawar.

From Fata, residents of Khyber and Mohmand agencies took part in larg numbers. They were joined by locals of settled areas such as Charsadda, Bajaur and Orakzai.

Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1157633/partys-pti-supporters-throng-rally-catch-glimpse-imran/