By Ahmad Fraz Khan
30 October 2011
Lahore: The Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) is all set for a much-awaited show of power in Lahore, which will, in all probability, set the tone of provincial politics till the next general elections.
The PTI leaders hope the rally would set direction for “national rather than provincial politics” because the series of rallies being arranged by the party is part of ‘agenda for change’ for the whole country, not only Punjab – as being project by the PPP and some political analysts.
Most of the analysts, however, think that it will be hard for Khan to immediately dent the PPP vote bank because of his political leanings. So, the PML-N could be the immediate victim of Khan’s politics. In the longer run, PTI may rob the PPP of its voters, but certainly not at this stage.
Some of the political analysts and the PPP have been projecting and pitching Imran Khan as an “alternative right winger” who can challenge Sharifs in, what is generally perceived to be, their secured political fortress – Lahore and the Punjab.
The Sunday rally will largely decide, at least in people’s perception, whether Imran Khan becomes the much-trumpeted “alternative” or not. The rally will thus not only impact the PML-N politics, but also, some say decisively, politics of Imran Khan and the PTI itself.
The most nervous watcher of the rally will certainly be the PML-N, which faces first ‘credible’ political challenge on its own turf since its inception. If the rally turns out to be a “well attendant event,” it will provide fodder to those analysts who think that Imran Khan factor has grown enough to give sleepless nights to Sharif brothers.
Some analysts believe the PML-N made a mistake of taking out a rally just two days ahead of Imran Khan’s and erroneously pitched itself against him. The ‘mistake’ has only blown the PTI rally out of political proportion, and made it a straight contest between Imran and Sharif brothers.
The provincial and local leadership of the PTI was confident on Saturday that “the historic rally would change political and governance landscape of the country.” Imran Khan will present his “roadmap for change” at the rally which, the PTI and its sympathisers expect, will attract hundreds and thousands of people. The party on Saturday reviewed all arrangements for the rally, where it has put up separate enclosures for females and families.
“The party is expecting a huge attendance of its female supporters and families and made separate arrangements for them,” Umer Cheema of the PTI told Dawn.
He said the party had also been most sensitive about security arrangements for the event and engaged a large number of its workers for the purpose. “The party assures all participants a smooth and secure attendance,” he said.
According to plan, all 27 circles of the party in the city will lead different rallies to Iqbal Park and Imran Khan will directly reach the venue.