Not 0.1m, But Enough to Save Face

All Pakistan Muslim LeagueKARACHI – There were not 0.1 million people at the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) rally at the ground near the Mazar-e-Quaid on Sunday as the party had anticipated, but there were enough participants – roughly around 20,000 – to spare it embarrassment and in fact make it feel proud of its efforts.

The rally was supposed to start at 2pm, but until 4pm, only a small number of people had gathered at the venue, most of them of Bengali and Behari origin who were earlier participating in a protest arranged by the Pakistan Bengali Ittehad. By 5pm, most media personnel were of the view that the rally was a failure. But after that, a large number of people, many of them from Malir, arrived there on buses. A significant number of people at the rally hailed from Gilgit, Chitral and Swat. The APML claimed that it had arranged 60,000 chairs. Many buses were also arranged to bring people from different parts of the city to the venue. Party leader Ghulam Rasool Unnar has arranged many participants from Sakrand.

The stage and sound and light systems were pretty much the same as the ones used by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in its rally last month. Five large LCDs were installed, the main one on the stage. Walkthrough gates were also installed but most of them were not working. According to sources, the Sunni Tehreek and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had silently lent their support to the APML rally to make it successful. As the sun started to set, the weather turned chilly and many participants of the rally started burning the sticks of party flags to warm themselves.

The media was told that party chief Pervez Musharraf would start his speech at around 7:30pm. But at around 6:30pm, many participants started leaving due to the increasing cold. This compelled Musharraf to start his speech 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time. When his speech started, there were only around 6,000 people left in the ground and many seats were empty. Music was played between speeches the way PTI had done during its rally. Singers sung songs about Musharraf. Some participants wore shirts displaying a picture of the former president. Banners were put up on which the prices of commodities during Musharraf’s tenure and the present time were displayed. Considering that the APML has been around for a relatively shorter period, the rally can be counted as a success. – pakistantoday