- PPP workers leave venue after Zardari’s departure avoiding Imran Khan’s speech
- Jamaat-e-Islami’s presence almost next to nothing
LAHORE: The party flags and supporters of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) surprisingly outnumbered the supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) during the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)-led anti-government protest outside the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday, reveals a formal survey conducted by Pakistan Today.
The protest demonstration staged by PAT-led opposition parties demanding the resignations of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah over the Model Town massacre in which 14 people were killed while over 100 got injured, had the representation of almost all the political parties of the opposition, but the actual presence on the scene was felt of only the PAT, PTI, PPP and PML-Q.
It was being expected earlier that the presence of the PTI would be more than that of PPP, keeping in view the vote bank of the party in Punjab and its past record of holding such protest demonstrations and mammoth public gatherings, but yesterday’s show of power was stolen by the PPP both on the stage and in venue of the public gathering.
It was observed during the rally on Wednesday, that the PTI did not take part in the protest demonstration wholeheartedly because of the thin presence of its workers in the public gathering.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan was also reluctant to share the stage with PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and therefore Khan appeared on the stage minutes after Zaradri left.
A day before the protest rally, a meeting had taken place between Asif Zardari and Dr Tahirul Qadri where the former had pledged his full support and instructed his party workers to take part in the rally in droves.
Muhammad Imran, a vendor who was selling the caps and flags inscribed with PTI’s logo, told Pakistan Today that he has been coming to the PTI rallies for the last four years but his business was at a new low in yesterday’s rally because of the thin presence of PTI workers.
“I am very much astonished today to see the workers of PTI as their enthusiasm and passion was not as much high as I have seen it in the past four years,” Imran said, who had come all the way from Rawalpindi to sell his PTI-related paraphernalia.
Asad Gujjar, another PTI supporter coming from Gujranwala, told this scribe that primarily it was a show of PAT and therefore PTI workers did not bother to come in maximum numbers as every MPA and MNA had just marked his attendance by bringing only some workers.
“The PTI is a party of the working class of office-going people and since it was not a public-holiday on Wednesday their presence thinned out,” he said.
Although, the entire leadership of PTI was present on the stage but the attendance of its workers and supporters in the public gathering was extremely low raising many questions.
Shafqat Ali, a PPP worker who had come from Kasur, said that around two to three thousand workers of PPP had come from the Kasur district over the instructions of PPP Punjab General Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor who himself belongs to the same city. It was also witnessed in the rally that the workers of PPP started leaving the public gathering soon after their leader Asif Ali Zaradri left the stage as they did not want to listen to the speech of Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, workers of the Jamaat-e-Islami could be seen nowhere in the protest rally despite the fact that JI had earlier announced support for Dr Tahirul Qadri over the Model Town incident.