LAHORE: Enthusiastic Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) supporters braved heavy rain to listen to their leader Imran Khan. Excited over huge gathering, Mr Khan asserted that tsunami had come.
Nevertheless Mr Khan had to cut short his speech that needed to spell out party’s much-awaited manifesto, his plan to launch an appeal for political fund-raising to finance party’s election campaign and a key objective – oath-taking of 80,000 elected office-bearers including 23,000 women.
The rally attracted a large crowd from across the country comprising party office-bearers, workers and youth (both boys and girls). Pakhtoons were present at the public meeting in large number.
People had started pouring in at the Minto Park at around mid-day. The PTI public meeting venue was almost filled by 6pm – presenting a little bigger crowd than the party had managed on October 30, 2011. A large number of party workers and youth, many of whom were wearing T-shirts bearing PTI monograms and messages, continued waving party flags, raising slogans. Families were also spotted sitting in groups.
Many of the participants also danced in groups on party songs played throughout the day. Singers Salman Ahmad and Ibrarul Haq also kept the audience engaged with their songs.
As the cell phone service was suspended at the venue and adjacent localities, many young boys and girls continued playing video games.
Weather remained pleasant and audience listened to their leaders but it rained heavily when PTI chief started his speech. Though he termed the downpour the advent of tsunami, he was restrained to explain his six promises. The audience stood firm and responded to their leader with loud slogans when Khan asked them whether they were afraid of the rain. At one time, Mr Khan specifically asked them not to move and let the rain fall.
Mr Khan’s speech was dotted with party songs that were played almost after every promise he made.
He continued using religious jargons and said that he had always looked upon the life of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), whenever he faced difficulty in his life. He said that he had spent tough 17 years in the field of politics and took many big decisions. He urged the youth to keep struggling, have faith and Allah almighty would help them survive in all situations.
Mr Khan said that when in power he would get the boundary-wall of Governor’s House razed and convert it into a playground, while the building would be converted into a public library.
The PTI chief also sought four assurances from the audience. He said the audience should assure him that they would stand with him in a battle against oppressors. He urged them to speak the truth and become “Tabdeeli Razakars” (volunteers of change) and fight against loot and plunder with enthusiasm and passion of building New Pakistan.
The public meeting participants were all praise for their leader and were in unison to say that they would make a concentrated effort and bring revolution in the country.
Besides those who had come from other parts of Punjab and the country, youth had reached the venue in their private vehicles. The PTI local organisation had also arranged vans on rent to bring people to the venue in large number. Those coming a bit late had to park their vehicles many-a-kilometre away from the venue. A large number of people had also used Metro Bus Service. The buses plying towards Shahdara were jam-packed and became almost empty at Azadi Chowk, the stop in front of the PTI public meeting venue.
The party had installed sound system up to Data Darbar, nearly two kilometres away from the Minto Park.—Mansoor Malik