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Karachi

November 7, 2017
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MQM-P rally draws old and young alike

Karachi

November 7, 2017

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Slightly hunched and walking with the help of a brown-coloured cane, 80-year-old Tohfan, manoeuvres her way through the thick crowd of people gathered at the Liaquatabad Flyover at dusk on Sunday for Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s rally.

She stops at intervals to catch a glimpse of the stage – a hundred metres away from her – where Farooq Sattar and the other leadership of the party is seated.

The volunteers sporting caps and wearing t-shirts inscribed with the MQM acronym come forward and offer her a chair to sit down but she is adamant that she will go near the stage.

“Stay out of my way,” she points her cane towards them and passes a smile. They smile back and retreat.

Even at the age of 80 she appears to be as young at heart as any youth activist of any political party and interested in politics. She religiously replies back to the slogans raised by groups in the rally, and also chants one: “Naara-e-Muhajir”. “Jiye Muhajir,” others respond, more vigorously, to appreciate her passion.  “They have never given us our rights and now they are snatching those of our children,” Tohfan, who has travelled some 15 to 20 kilometers from Baldia Town to Liaquatabad for the rally, says to The News regarding the “controversial” population census results of Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh, which the MQM-P was protesting at the November 5 rally.

Just like Tohfan, thousands of other MQM-P supporters have travelled to the city on Sunday from districts like Hyderabad and Mirpur Khas. They came in the buses provided by the party and left once the rally was over.

Sunday night at Liaquatabad was a cacophony of noises, the riveting speeches of the leaders and the blur of party colours.

Altaf Hussain, 27, and his friend of the same age, Imran, who goes by his first name only, have come from Phuleli in Hyderabad and even though they have relatives in the city, they say they seldom visit them because they’re busy with work. “Two buses have come here from our locality. We support MQM-P and Farooq Sattar,” they say. When asked about last year’s August 22 saga and the proceeding events with the party, they comment, “Let bygones be bygones.”

The crowd, which according to the MQM-P should be over 25,000 people, appears jubilant. Men, women, youngsters and children are holding party flags and brandishing the same on their heads and shoulders. Some remain seated on their chairs, some move around, crouch on the sidewalks in groups, discussing politics, or simply chatting at the reunion, while others, especially the proactive kids and youngsters are dancing to the tunes of the new songs made by the MQM-P and on the hit of slain Qawwali singer Amjad Sabri’s ‘Jabr Kay Andhero Mein’ and Fariha Parvez’s ‘Patang Baaz Sajna Say’.

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