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By Mumtaz Alvi
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
From Print Edition


Liaquat Bagh rally


ISLAMABAD: The fact that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was the chief guest at the Awami Muslim League (AML) rally Monday night saved Sheikh Rashid Ahmad from an embarrassing situation according to sources, as the gathering minus PTI workers would have not exceeded more than 3,000-3,500 persons at Liaquat Bagh.


Interestingly, a marked difference was quite visible between the activists of the PTI and the AML: needless to say, the bulk of Imran’s audience consisted predominantly of educated youngsters, while those of Sheikh Rashid were either semi-literate or uneducated from downtown Rawalpindi, Banni and Raja Bazaar.


When asked why the presence of his party supporters was not as much as anticipated, an AML office-bearer defended the turnout by saying that the show was essentially a local one, and secondly no transport arrangements had been made to bring people to the venue from their homes or workplaces. He further explained that the month of fasting had deterred many people from leaving their homes after Iftar — a time when many were busy offering their Taravih prayers as well.


The local AML leader, who also was present at the PTI public rally at the same venue on May 27 this year, conceded that the turnout at Imran Khan’s earlier event had indeed been a historic one.