KARACHI: In what appears to be another attempt to present itself as an alternative to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the Pak Sarzameen Party is going to organise a public meeting on Sunday at the same location where its nemesis had held a ‘show of strength’ around three months ago.
While the choice of the sprawling Bagh-i-Jinnah in the shadow of the Quaid’s mausoleum seems to lend more credence to the notion that the PSP is in competition with the MQM-P, it remains to be seen whether the Mustafa Kamal-led party can fill the venue to its capacity since his former party was not able to work its magic on people without its London-based founder Altaf Hussain.
On April 27, the MQM-P had organised a public meeting at Bagh-i-Jinnah in which the party announced launching a struggle for “urban Sindh province”.
Party says it will raise Karachi’s civic issues at rally
A week later, PSP chairman Kamal told a press conference that his party would hold a public meeting on July 21 at the same location.
Rising from the ashes
Only a year ago, the PSP had faced a historic electoral defeat when it failed to get even a single seat in the July 25 general elections. Its performance was so bad that its candidates got fifth or sixth position in the majority of constituencies.
As a result, some key leaders had practically left the party but chose to make no formal announcement. Hordes of workers had returned to the MQM-P and at one point many believed that the PSP had become history. But PSP president Anis Kaimkhani and many other leaders, especially those who came from parties other than the MQM, stuck with Mr Kamal despite the electoral defeat.
And on March 23, it seemed that the party had risen from the ashes when it held a big public meeting in Hyderabad to celebrate its third foundation day. It was the success of the event that gave hopes to the PSP that it can pull such a crowd even in Karachi.
‘Now or never’
The preparations by the PSP for Sunday’s show are in full swing as workers and supporters are seen installing banners, Mr Kamal’s portraits and party flags across the city.
A stage has been made and the venue is being decorated with party flags and banners. Workers have been taking out small rallies from different city areas to reach the venue on a daily basis in a bid to build momentum for Sunday’s show.
A PSP press release stated that the theme of the public meeting was ‘Now or never’.
The central leadership of the PSP, including Mr Kamal, has been holding corner meetings in every district of the city asking people to come to the July 21 event in large numbers if they want a solution to their long-standing civic problems, including the issue of water shortage.
Talking to the media at Bagh-i-Jinnah on Friday evening, Mr Kamal said that the PSP had become stronger after losing the 2018 general elections.
“We cannot wait for five years for the next elections. Those sitting in the assemblies have been sold out,” he said, adding: “I am going to announce the future course of action on July 21.”
Maintaining that people belonging to all ethnic backgrounds were united under the banner of the PSP, he appealed to them to “sacrifice four hours of their time” to join the PSP public meeting. “People of Karachi should have to decide whether they want to die or to fight for their rights.”
Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2019