PPP’s massive rally in Karachi in support of President Asif Ali Zardari

PPP, MQM rally against PML-N

By Irfan Ali

KARACHI: The supporters of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) flocked to MA Jinnah Road to participate in the PPP rally held on Wednesday in support of President Asif Ali Zardari, in the face of the malicious propaganda being carried out against him by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

In one sentence, they rejected the criticism conveying their message that PPP’s supporters do not need to test a time-tested leader like Zardari.

PPP also warned that the people will not pardon those who attack democracy. PPP leaders vowed that they will offer their lives simply on an order from PPP’s chief Asif Zardari. With PPP’s tri-coloured flags fluttering in the sky, portraits of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari on display, they raised slogans in support of Zardari.

“Do you want another sacrifice from us after the martyrdom of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Murtaza and Shahnawaz Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto,” Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah asked speaking at the large rally near Jamia Cloth Market.

Muttahidda Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Shoaib Bukhari, Raza Haroon and Waseem Aftab also joined the rally to express their support to Zardari.

“First MQM had given you a reply by staging a mass rally here and now it is the final answer to you, Nawaz Sharif, that thousands of people reject your allegations against the unity of Pakistan,” he said.

To ensure foolproof security arrangements, PPP’s security team coordinated with the police and Rangers. The points leading to the route of the rally were sealed. Body searches were conducted on everyone before they were allowed to enter the venue of the rally.

Shah said that Sharif was struggling to come into power through backdoor channels, unconstitutional and undemocratic means. He said that the sacked chief justice took oath under the PCO twice and also validated the military take over that dislodged the Nawaz-led government on October 12, 1999. He declared the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers a deep-rooted conspiracy that was not hatched in one day.

“You will not be able to oust the democratically elected government that was established after a long struggle and after a great sacrifice by Benazir Bhutto,” he said.

Shah reminded the PML-N that three provincial assemblies trusted and nominated Zardari for presidency and he was voted for by all four provincial assemblies unlike the PML-N’s candidate.

He said that Zardari had enjoyed the confidence of all four provinces because of his national reconciliatory politics. Shah said that Zardari had the majority of three provinces while he had a considerable number of votes from the Punjab Assembly too.

PPP’s supporters were at ease on the venue. Some people were serving drinking water and some were offering food items to the participants of the rally. Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Khuhro warned the PML-N chief that his artificial crisis might pave the way for intervention from undemocratic forces.

“PPP’s members and supporters are capable of defending Pakistan, its people, Zardari and the PPP-led government. Beware of the consequences of conspiracies against the elected government,” Khuhro further said. He said PPP’s good intentions were welcomed and Pakistan is witnessing the politics of reconciliation due to PPP’s practical steps for harmony and cohesion.

Employees of PIA, HBFC, PQA, People’s Doctors’ Forum members, paramedical staff, Lawyers Forum, women wing, PSF, Labour Bureau, Youth Wing and Cultural Wing turned out to stage a successful show of strength.

PPP Karachi Chapter chief Faisal Abedi said that the PPP and its allied parties sacrificed the lives of their members for the sake of an independent judiciary but the sacked chief justice did not even have the time to condole the PPP workers’ death. He said he had arranged this rally on a 22 hours notice. He said if he was asked to plan the rally 15 days ago, countless people from Karachi to Islamabad would have participated in the rally. He thanked the MQM for their support.

MQM’s leaders Shoaib Bukhari and Raza Haroon said that MQM’s support to the PPP-led government was not an alliance between political parties or the coalition partners but in fact, it is an alliance of the hearts and minds of the people of Sindh. “Those who desecrated the monument of Benazir Bhutto are narrow-minded. Benazir Bhutto is a popular leader and her party took revenge by establishing democracy,” Shoaib Bukhari said. He said that MQM and PPP’s reconciliation and alliance was for the welfare and stability of Pakistan. He urged the rival parties to be aware of the internal and external dangers.

MQM and PPP leaders said that Sharif considered himself a political leader by speaking at a gathering of 400 people.