KARACHI: The Pak Sarzameen Party is set to hold a big political show in the form of a women-only rally on Sunday (today) at Bagh-i-Jinnah, located in the shadows of Quaid’s mausoleum, in response to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan’s massive show of power at the same place last month.

Two back-to-back shows of power organised by former prime minister’s party in the metropolis and the spontaneous participation of a large number of Karachiites gave rise to the impression that the PTI had successfully filled the political vacuum in Karachi and it would repeat its 2018 general election performance in the upcoming polls.

Against this backdrop, the PSP decided to flex its political muscles by holding a women-only event at the same venue where the PTI gathered a large number of men and women for its April 16 public meeting.

The party believed that the participation of a large number of people in PTI events was actually a sign of their protest against the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, which struck a power-sharing deal after the latter joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led coalition government by parting ways with the PTI’s.

The event will help mobilise the PSP cadre for the June 16 by-election on a National Assembly seat that fell vacant after the death of MQM-P MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan, and also provide the party foundation for launching its election campaign for the upcoming local government elections scheduled to be held in Karachi and Hyderabad on July 24.

There is a consensus within the PSP leadership that the party can easily challenge the PTI and MQM-P since both the parties remained in a coalition for more than three years and failed to deliver any public welfare project for the people of Karachi.

They said while the PTI got a weak organisational structure marred by internal rifts, the MQM-P committed “political suicide” by forging a coalition with the same PPP that it had always blamed for all the problems being faced by the people of urban Sindh.

The results of a by-election on a Karachi NA seat, NA-249, held last year seems to have strengthen the PSP claim, as it got more votes than those bagged by its rival PTI and MQM-P.

Earlier in March 2020, the PSP had staged a massive women-only rally in district Central.

It also organised two successful power shows in the same Bagh-i-Jinnah in July 2019 and then in November 2020, which was in response to a public meeting organised by the then 11-party opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance on Oct 18, 2020 just to show that it single-handedly got the ability to fill the huge venue with its supporters.

For Sunday’s rally, tilted Karachi Ab Dhoka Nahi Khaye Ga (Karachi will not get deceived again), the PSP hung huge banners, party flags and portraits of Mr Kamal and PSP president Anis Kaimkhani on buildings, bridges, roads leading to the venue. A container-stage is erected in Bagh-i-Jinnah and the party claimed that it had made seating arrangements for “thousands of people”.

On Saturday, PSP chairman Mustafa Kamal told reporters outside an accountability court that his party would pack Bagh-i-Jinnah to capacity on Sunday to prove that the people of Karachi were only with the PSP.

However, it remains to be seen whether Mr Kamal’s PSP will succeed in bringing more women on Sunday than the collective number of men and women who had attended PTI’s public meeting last month.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022

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