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Political parties rally as Pakistan elections draw nearer

Hold huge rallies in different parts of the country to kick start election campaign

Gulf News

Karachi: Pakistan’s political scene on Sunday got hot as many political parties held huge rallies around the country to kick-start their election campaign as the deadline to file nomination ends at midnight.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was holding a rally in Nowhero Feroz, a modest-sized city some 250 kilometers north east of Karachi, where the party’s key leaders were addressing the public.

Dr Farooq Sattar, the deputy convener of MQM, in his address claimed that his party would form the next government in the province and for the first time the chief minister would also be from the MQM.

In Lahore, Jamiat Ulmae Islam (JUI) held a mammoth rally at the Minare Pakistan, where Imran Khan held a rally on March 23. The JUI rally was as big as Khan’s. The black-striped flags of the party were waving all around in the ground, formerly known as Minto Park.

JUI attracts religious and right-wing votes and was a vanguard force in Khyber Pakhtun Khaw and western Balochistan provinces in the past.

Imran Khan was also holding a sizable rally in Swat, a key city in Khyber Pakhtun Khaw, which once fell to the Taliban and was taken back after months of fighting by the Pakistan Army.

Khan told the public that he was only a few weeks away from making the government. He also promised Swat residents jobs at their doorstep.

Jamate Islami, another right-wing party, was holding a rally in Karachi at the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of the nation.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which has already extended the nomination deadline for two days, extended the deadline further today. Its offices will now accept papers up to midnight.