The MQM’s factions are finally coming together today, Saturday, to try to win back some turf. The rally is expected to start at Maghrib.
The Bahadurabad and PIB factions are holding a rally at the famous Tanki Ground in Liaquatabad, a constituency with great significance. “When the PPP held a rally at Tanki ground, it was empty,” said Farooq Sattar of PIB. “When we do it, the tank will be full.”
SAMAA TV Karachi bureau chief Faryal Arif explained what was at stake: “The PPP’s recent jalsa did get people in this spot,” she said. “The MQM saw this and listened to what was said. They realised that before gathering people they needed to unite themselves.”
Liaquatabad was the constituency from where the MQM always got the most votes. It was a blow to the ego that the PPP had come on its turf and attracted a crowd.
Karachi is watching the MQM closely since it fell apart last year. After party founder Altaf Hussain made an incendiary speech, the party split. Voters in Karachi were wondering what would the party’s fate be. The factions squabbled. They held separate conventions. Will they be able to put aside their differences and unit?
Tanki Ground is symbolic as it is the place where Liaquatabad’s water is stored in a tank in FC Area. It is centrally located.
SAMAA’s reporter Shehbaz Khan noted that Liaquatabad has had a water supply problem for two decades at least. But on Saturday, instead of supplying water, tankers were found in the neighbourhood blocking off alleyways.
Farooq Sattar had said earlier that the rally would also be a protest against water and power shortages.
(This is a developing story…)