MUZAFFARABAD: Inclement weather prohibited the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Monday to address a public meeting in connection with the campaign for his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidates in Muzaffarabad division.

PTI workers and supporters had been waiting for Mr Khan and had decorated not only the venue of the public meeting — a playground in the heart of the city — but also all city neighbourhoods and major arteries with posters and banners, carrying his portraits and that of other leaders, including the candidates.

However, heavy rains came in the way of his much-awaited tour.

Though a slightly improved weather in the afternoon rekindled the hopes of PTI leaders and workers, the party announced at its official Twitter handle close to Maghrib prayers that the premier’s visit to Muzaffarabad had been postponed due to bad weather.

However, the public meeting was held in the playground around the same time and addressed, among others, by federal minister Ali Amin Gandapur, PTI regional president Barrister Sultan Mahmood, Sardar Tanveer Ilyas and Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, the party’s central joint secretary and its candidate from Muzaffarabad.

The speakers said that the PML-N and PPP were trying to hide behind the notion of “theft of elections” because they had anticipated their crushing defeat at the hands of the PTI.

The two parties wanted a face saving for themselves, without bothering about its detrimental effects on the interests of Pakistan, they said.

Khawaja Atif Bashir, a spokesperson for the PTI, claimed that his party had put up a “great show” in Muzaffarabad which had clearly defined the public mood.

Meanwhile, the residents of Muzaffarabad suffered throughout the day on Monday due to mismanagement on the part of the official machinery as almost all roads in the capital were blocked from one or the other point for traffic, leaving many of the frustrated citizens in rage.

“It seems that the administration wanted to bring the PTI in disrepute by making the people suffer throughout the day for no reason,” commented one PTI supporter at a choked roundabout.

He said the administration could have prepared a traffic plan for smooth inter-city movement of vehicles.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2021

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