Karachi’s Dawoodi Bohra community has a distinct identity due to its distinctive dress but does not openly express its political affiliation. At a PTI Jalsa in Karachi’s Jinnah Bagh on Sunday night, several families from the Bohri community, including women, were spotted.
Aqeel Bohri came there with three women. When I asked him if the Bohri community stays away from politics, then how is he here? His answer was that he came here because of Imran Khan.
When Imran Khan says “absolutely not”, we need it. If they don’t come out today, they will never be able to come out, because freedom is only with Imran Khan, otherwise we have not been free for last 75 years.
It should be noted that after the overthrow of the federal government, the PTI had its first power show in Karachi and second overall. Earlier, Imran Khan held his first rally in Peshawar and demonstrated his strength in Karachi on Sunday night.
Many people from MA Jinnah Road came to the rally on foot while the number of people coming on motorcycles was quite high. Vehicles were not provided to bring people to the Jalsa and people volunteered.
The number of participants was not limited to speakers of any one language nor was it limited to any one age or gender, there were also boys and girls from the age of 70 to the age of 17-18 and many came with their families. Jalsas in Karachi are usually less attended by people with family.
Badge with Imran Khan’s picture and policeman
The atmosphere in the auditorium was colorful as the participants were from different walks of life. T-shirts with pictures of Imran Khan were available before but now there is an addition of t-shirts with absolutely not written on them.
Some people were selling badges, flags and hats on the streets and sidewalks. It is common to see in the Jalsas that the flags are distributed by the party while the people here were also buying and selling.
There was also a person in the audience who was distributing badges with Imran Khan’s picture for free. The reason, he said, was that Imran Khan had explained the change. Among those who took the badge were police officers too. I asked if you are a government employee, how will you apply it? The answer was, “We have been hired by the people, we are their servants.”
In Karachi, in the past, leftist organizations and now Jamaat-e-Islami and Shia organizations have been holding anti-US rallies. Imran Khan continued his anti-American rhetoric here after Peshawar. Earlier, when he started a series of tsunami rallies against the PML-N government after the 2013 elections, the focus of his politics was on local corruption and governance.
Imran Khan’s speech: ‘Do not do politics of confrontation’
Addressing the gathering, Imran Khan said, “If the conspiracy succeeds, then no ruler will stand against the United States.”
He criticized former President General Pervez Musharraf by naming him and asked the participants how Pakistan became an ally of the United States in the global war on terror over a phone call.
General Pervez Musharraf shrugged on an American phone call. In this war 80,000 of our people were killed, people were displaced, drone strikes were carried out in which school children were killed. I was also told to join their war and give them bases. I said absolutely not.
Imran Khan said Musharraf “fell to his knees for the second time” when he, according to former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, brought Benazir and Musharraf together to fight our (US) war. Musharraf gave NRO and closed all corruption cases.
Imran Khan also questioned the judiciary and said that “at least the judiciary should have seen the letter”. “A judicial commission should be formed to look into the matter,” he said. Imran Khan said, “The decision of the judiciary, which tied our hands, hurt.”
PTI Chairman Imran Khan said, “I was saddened that the courts were opened at night that I would commit any crime, I would break the constitution, this pain will remain with me for the rest of my life.”
He alleged that the PML-N government would file cases against him”. We do not want to engage in confrontational politics,” he said.
Criticism of MQM in the Jalsa
In the last elections in Karachi, the PTI emerged as the largest party in the city. Second was the MQM, which allied with the PTI in the federation, but when the united opposition launched a no-confidence motion, the MQM distanced themselves from the PTI.
PTI leaders Shamim Firdous Naqvi and Asad Umar criticized the MQM in their respective speeches but Imran Khan did not even mention them.
However, some participants in the rally expressed displeasure with the MQM.
Qureshi, who came with his family, said, “We had got a good leader after long time.
“We voted for the PTI. Now no other party can come. The MQM held us Karachi hostage, it will also give us freedom. What has he done for Karachi, what did Mayor Wasim Akhtar do, now he says bring it back.
“The reason for participation is not Imran Khan or PTI but this Jalsa is for Pakistan”
Mrs. Muhammad Arif, who came from Garden, said, “Imran Khan did nothing but raised his voice for the people, he raised his voice for Kashmir. Very wrong has done to him, he gave people awareness. Her husband, Mohammad Arif, believes that Imran Khan “brightened the name of Pakistan”, which earned him “respect in the world which was not there before.”
One student, who came with her family carrying the Pakistani flag, said she had never been to a Jalsa and was attending for the first time.
“The reason for participation is not Imran Khan or PTI but this Jalsa is for Pakistan and against those whom the US has imposed on our heads. We had elected Imran Khan, we had voted for Imran Khan, we the people had made him the Prime Minister.
Dalrez Khan also came to a Jalsa for the first time. He said that Imran Khan has put his eyes in the eyes of America. He is a lion, a brave man, he will save Pakistan. According to him, he did not vote before but this time he will definitely vote.
Some overseas Pakistanis also attended the Jalsa. Among them was Dr Tasneem Munir, who said that she had arrived from the UK on Saturday and had come to the Jalsa.
“There can be no one better for Pakistan than Imran. We have not given Pakistan into the hands of others. He refused to recognize the change of government as a democratic change and said that the change came in a democratic manner when Imran Khan came”. This government has not come democratically.”
How big was the PTI Jalsa?
The PTI has already held a rally in Jinnah Bagh in 2013, while the opposition alliance PDM and other parties have also tried their power show here.
The participation of the people in this Jalsa was also discussed among the journalists.
During his speech, Imran Khan said that the venue of the Jalsa has become too small, while before him former Federal Minister Sheikh Rashid had claimed that the Jalsa was a big one after Fatima Jinnah’s Jalsa against Ayub Khan.’
Earlier, Haleem Adil Sheikh, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, when asked by reporters about the number of chairs in ground, replied, “This is an old question, you should count people’s faces.
‘Imran Khan’s statement is selling’
Journalist Arif Mahmood said that the Jalsas of Tehreek-e-Labeek and Maulana Fazlur Rehman were also big and such was the gathering.
He said that majority of the people were dissatisfied with the decision of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). MQM neither did anything for Karachi even stepped back from antiestablishment opinion.
“Imran Khan’s anti-establishment stance is selling, but the element of Imran Khan’s attractiveness cannot be ignored.”
Senior journalist and analyst Mazhar Abbas calls PTI’s Karachi Jalsa a success. According to him, “there was a good charged atmosphere and it can be said that Imran Khan has received a good response.”
He said that Imran Khan’s focus was on the Supreme Court. One of the reasons for this is that there is still an appeal to be heard. He wants early elections. He has given a direct message to the judiciary and an indirect message to the establishment.
“He rejected the DG ISPR’s press conference, in which he said there was no conspiracy, and maintained that there was a conspiracy and that the current government had come with the help of the United States.”
Mazhar Abbas says that Imran Khan did not mention what happened in the Punjab Assembly on Saturday”. Maybe when he addresses a rally in Lahore, he will focus on Punjab.”