A large number of PTI supporters gather at Parade Ground in Islamabad on Saturday on the call of party chairman Imran Khan to protest against the recent surge in prices of petroleum products and other household items. — Source: Twitter / MashwaniAzhar
A large number of PTI supporters gather at Parade Ground in Islamabad on Saturday on the call of party chairman Imran Khan to protest against the recent surge in prices of petroleum products and other household items. — Source: Twitter / MashwaniAzhar

ISLAMABAD: Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), who gathered at the Parade Ground on Saturday to attend the protest against inflation, criticised the incumbent government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) over its failure to provide relief to the masses.

They also took an exception to the removal of pro-PTI banners in the twin cities and said the government could “remove the posters from streets but it could not remove Imran Khan from their hearts”.

Amir Baig, an employee of Bahria Town and resident of E-11, was among the PTI supporters who reached the Parade Ground ahead of the public gathering. He was accompanied by his two sons, Mohammad Umar and Mohammad Bilal.

Mr Baig, a PTI supporter since 2013, said only Imran Khan could address the challenges faced by the country which was the reason he had been an Imran Khan supporter for years.

Irfan Ali, an electrician by profession who came from Kallar Kahar to attend the rally, said he used to face embarrassment while debating with the PML-N supporters because of the price hike during the tenure of PTI government.

“However, now I find the PML-N supporters in a similar situation as inflation has broken all records,” he quipped. “I believe that only Imran Khan can address the issues of Pakistan,” he said.

For Mehar Zaman Khan, a farmer who came from Mianwali, Imran Khan was still the prime minister even after his ouster.

“Pakistan will suffer if Mr Khan will not be brought back into power. Free and fair elections should be held and true representatives of people should be allowed to rule,” he opined.

Shahzad Ali and Muntazir Mehdi, residents of Chakwal, chided the government for removing PTI banners in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. They said such tactics could not “remove Imran Khan from their hearts”, adding that any attempt to “defame” the former prime minister will further popularise him among the people.

Mohammad Hameed, a businessman who came from Mansehra, said the incumbent government was not “competent enough to address the issues”.

Earlier in the day, PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar visited the Parade Ground to observe the arrangements for the gathering.

Talking to media, Mr Chaudhry claimed the PTI would sweep the upcoming by-elections in Punjab.

“No power can stop Imran Khan from achieving his goal,” he added.

It may be noted here that PTI workers broke the iron fence around the venue to make additional entrances.

There were only four entrances to the ground - one for the families and three for the general public - but the PTI supporters made their separate ways to enter the ground by removing the fence.

Though the administration had arranged security measures at the four designated entrances, the new entry points made by the PTI supporters after removing the fence remained unguarded.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022

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