KARACHI: Workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) asked some pertinent questions from both the ruling political parties of the country as well as from its own cadre at the Huqooq-i-Karachi March on Sunday. The questions largely pertained to the constant bickering between political parties over who can better manage the city and take on its problems.

As the party’s anthem blared in the background, Usman Kohistani, the PTI’s youth wing president in Karachi, said: “If the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan had done something for Karachi in the past 30 years then there was no need for Imran Khan to speak up and come to the city to address its citizens.”

This argument was accepted by the workers surrounding him, as they presented their own arguments as to why Karachi needed to be “owned by leaders representing it”.

Some of them questioned their own party over its performance after the general elections of 2013. “We did get a lot of votes at the time and yes, we thought we can change the city at the time, but somehow things didn’t go as planned,” said a party supporter, Mohammad Moinuddin.

But Kohistani argued that the “PTI didn’t get enough MPAs in the assembly, which matters if one wants to take control of a city”.

Despite scorching sun, the mood at the rally remained festive as many of the PTI supporters reached the venue, the old Numaish traffic intersection, by noon.

Most of these workers and supporters came from Ittehad Town, Korangi, Hijrat Colony, Qayyumabad, North Nazimabad, Defence, Keamari and Hyderabad.

By 4.30pm, there were around a hundred supporters of the party with a separate stall for women representatives also full of supporters. It was surrounded by male workers of the PTI.

The recent Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case was something which was brought up by everyone right from the vendor selling party caps and brooches to those taking part in the rally.

While dealing with customers, Mohammad Khadim Hussain, who was selling caps at the venue, said: “The prime minister should have resigned after the SC’s verdict. Those who still think that the ruling party is left with some dignity are wrong to believe so in my opinion.”

The vendor next to him said: “It is better to call elections, as it would create an opportunity for Khan Sahib to finally work on his promises. That is, if he wins enough seats. Hopefully, he will.”

Many supporters, including Nasrullah, counted the continuing electricity and water shortages as one of the biggest issues of the city.

Mohammad Zaheer, a transporter from Ittehad Town, added that “a heap of garbage in our neighbourhood stays in the same place for weeks and at times months. I think Imran Khan will change Karachi the way he changed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

There was also a lot of emphasis by the PTI supporters on empowering the Sindh police by introducing police reforms.

Two students, one from Hyderabad and one from Karachi, believed that police reforms would solve one of the biggest issues ailing the city for a long time — that is crime.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2017

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