It took Niazi and his PTI 15 years of failure and humiliation at the polls to finally get their first properly attended rallies in Lahore and Karachi. Even then, Generals Kiyani and Pasha has to work overtime to ensure that all telephone and mobile networks carried multiple messages to each and every subscriber to attended these well scripted rallies.
Billions were spent in 2011 and the most elaborate arrangements were made right down to the proper Deejay and Catering Teams. In a country of 200 million plus, these 2 rallies managed to get an audience between 30,000 – 70,000 in two of Pakistan’s largest population centers.
The audience was mostly upper middle class professionals and business owners. Many had been instructed at their country and golf clubs to attend these rallies and ensure that their relatives and hangers on were in tow.
Lahore and Karachi have always been dominated by civil societies that are in line with the establishment. So getting them to attend a well heeled “political rally” of another establishment spawn was not very hard.
Today, the opposition has managed to take out similar rallies in Gujranwala and Karachi. Some PTI-MQM supporters have lost it and are deeply upset.
Relax guys. Did you really think that the party was going to go on forever? This does not spell an end to the PTI government which has the backing of the all important army. As well as sections of the judiciary and media. But it is a signal that the lease just got tighter.
The US elections are in November. That might be more dangerous for this PTI regime. However, the end might not be as drastic as before. It could simply be an in-house change.
The PTI-MQM-GDA regime alliance does not have a big majority. This is where there could be a dangerous signal as PPP, PML N, ANP and JUI F have shown that they can unite temporarily. Nawaz Sharif has derailed Shahbaz Sharif’s negotiations. Or maybe he has made it stronger.
Either ways. It is a signal that PTI cannot ignore. But it is not the death rattle. Not yet.