ISLAMABAD: Not one to sit quietly along the sidelines, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) too has decided to test the waters in Punjab, announcing that it is all set “to make an impression” with a rally of its own in the province regarded as the country’s political powerhouse.
“We’ve been planning it for a while now and will go ahead with idea very soon,” a top leader of the party told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
The disclosure, which is bound to hit some nerves, came with MQM leader Wasey Jalil saying that the party was planning on making significant inroads in Punjab, and was gearing up to leave its mark in the province.
“You will see us there very soon,” Jalil said, however, he did not provide any specific schedule or venue for the rally. The MQM has remained uncharacteristically quiet over the past few months, following a wave of political and ethnic violence that wreaked havoc in Karachi earlier this year with over 300 people being killed in July alone.
Punjab, in the meanwhile, has become a political battleground, with two of the largest parties and one emerging party fighting it out to overpower the other.
The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), it seems, is now banking on goodwill to earn the support of the masses in Punjab by promising a separate federating unit for them.
Already threatened by the rising popularity of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which rules Punjab, is now set to face a new challenge with the MQM planning to jump into the province’s wrangling ring.
“We will not be silent spectators anymore. We will not watch from the outside while the situation unfolds. We will get into it soon,” said Jalil.
However, a party official explained that self-exiled MQM chief Altaf Hussain has already sought suggestions from the party’s office-bearers in all five zones of Punjab and will soon be chalking out a plan to move ahead.
One of the recommendations that the party was considering and is most likely to approve, he added, is to hold small rallies in all districts of the province before holding a huge gathering in Lahore, Rawalpindi or Multan.
“With the winds of change blowing across the country, we do see an opening for ourselves in Punjab,” the party member said enthusiastically.