ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s Sunday public gathering attracted a large number of middle and lower middle class people who were of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan was being victimised for upholding Islamic values and for his independent foreign policy.
The participants at the public gathering titled Amr Bil Maroof (enjoin the good), seemed impressed by some of the decisions and action of Imran Khan related to religion.
However, the public gathering could not attract much participation of the elite class, youngsters and women which was seen in the party’s sit-in in 2014.
“We are very impressed by his [PM] bold stance against Islamophobia and America and western countries. Imran Khan arranged two OIC meetings in Islamabad. But like former prime minister Zulifikar Ali Bhutto, he is being victimised by foreign agents, and corrupt opposition leaders are trying to remove him,” said Akseer Jan, a participant of the gathering, who came all the way from Mardan.
Public gathering’s atmosphere remained charged; enthusiastic participants raised slogans in support of prime minister
Another participation, Wajid Hussain, said Mr Bhutto was targeted for his attempts to make an Islamic bloc and unite all Muslim countries. “Now Imran Khan is facing the same treatment,” he said, adding that Imran Khan was the leader of the Islamic world.
The participants believed that it was because of “international conspiracy” that the prime minster was facing the challenge of no- confidence motion.
When told that moving a no-confidence motion was a constitutional step, Zohaib Ali, another participant, said: “We know we are being targeted for the prime minister’s bold stance and for saying ‘absolutely no’.”
He said the no-confidence motion had given the PTI and its workers new enthusiasm and unity who were upset due to high inflation.
Overall, the atmosphere at the meeting remained charged. Holding party flags, the workers danced on party songs and raised slogans in support of the prime minister. They also targeted Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
When Imran Khan started his speech, the charged crowd were all ears as they expected to hear something surprising, as he had been stating that he would announce a big surprise in the rally that would turn the table on the opposition.
“Where is the surprise? Though this public gathering is historic, there is no outcome. I was expecting some breakthrough and breaking news, but we heard nothing new today,” said Mohammad Waseem, another participant.
It had been noticed that there was no serious security arrangements as people entered the venue from the Shakarparian side without any body search. However, aerial surveillance was conducted through a helicopter.
Several PTI workers also climbed electricity poles and trees to get a better view of their leaders sitting on the stage.
Throughout the day, people reached Islamabad from various parts of the country.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2022