On Monday, people were stuck in traffic for two hours on University Road as workers of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf clashed at Hakim Saeed Ground. Both parties wanted to hold their May 12 jalsas here. Two days later, though, neither of them is interested any more.
The PPP will instead hold its event at Bagh-e-Jinnah and the PTI will organise its rally at Rashid Minhas Ground. Both parties say they decided to change their venue after the confrontation at Hakim Saeed Ground.
This violence brought up bitter memories of May 12, 2007 for those who were watching the news.
The PPP and PTI spent on advertising their programmes at Hakim Saeed Ground. But the banners, which were put up two days ago, now lie strewn about the roads. “Such extravagance did not help anyone,” said one woman. Our taxes are wasted, said one man.
With elections approaching, the PPP and PTI have stepped up their campaigns. The PPP has set up membership camps in almost all localities. It is focusing on MQM strongholds such as Gulshan-e-Iqbal. The PTI is keeping up with the race, too. Party chief Imran Khan has announced that he will contest the general elections on a Karachi seat.
The parties that supported each other in the Senate elections have now become arch-rivals in Karachi. And they are exchanging anything but pleasantries. “Our chairman is right when he says that there is no difference between Altaf Hussain and Imran Khan,” said PPP leader Saeed Ghani at a press conference right after Monday’s violence. He accused the PTI of behaving like “MQM’s B team”.
Imran Khan tweeted that PPP’s “strong-arm tactics” reflects their “fear of PTI’s rising popularity in Sindh”. Other PTI leaders said the PPP is unaware of the “meaning of democracy”.
As the two parties slugged it out, the MQM grabbed some popcorn to watch. Its MNA, Ali Raza Abidi, who is active on social media, recently spoke about grabbing what’s left uncontested. “Now that neither the PPP nor the PTI is willing to hold the jalsa at Hakeem Saeed ground on the 12th, I suggest the MQM hold the gathering on the same date at that location,” he tweeted.