Notes From The Ground: PDM Lahore Jalsa Draws Diverse Crowd
The Minare-e-Pakistan was jam packed with supporters, party workers and members of the public for Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s power show in Lahore on Sunday. The sheer size of the crowd is best judged by visual evidence that were shot live on the ground.
The main entrance to the venue from Gate no.3 was packed with people entering the ground up until 7 in the evening.
Many supporters had already camped inside the ground since early morning and noon, while the crowd inside the ground was nothing short of spectacular. There were about several hundred people on the Azadi chowk interchange bridge, viewing the show inside the stadium, while waving party flags.
The numbers inside the ground made it hard to move without bumping into personnel. There were large numbers, as shown in the drone footage and media coverage. The most interesting scene from the ground were the several thousand that had descended themselves in and around the stage where PDM leadership sat. NayaDaur saw security officials on the stage trying to stop extremely passionate members of the crowd from getting onto the stage. The crowd size prompted PDM security to remove stairs to the stage to avoid any untoward incident for the leadership on stage. Several PDM leaders including Bilawal Bhutto, Maryam Nawaz, Fazlur Rehman, Ata Tarrar, Musaddik Malik were on stage.
The ground situation reflected the diversity of the crowd. While it was dominated by PML-N flags, there were also PPP and JUI-F flags all over the park. There were chants of ‘Jiye Bhutto’ from various areas of the park. Many people had camped themselves as small groups, making it look like a scene right out of Quidditch.
NayaDaur spoke to participants on ground who explained their anger against Imran Khan’s government stemmed from inflation and misgovernance. Many passionate supporters of PML-N lamented what they called the targeted accountability of Sharif family and expressed their desire for Nawaz Sharif to return. The PDM supporters from Sindh echoed anti-establishment sentiment and rejoiced the fact that Punjabi and Sindhi leadership were on a similar page about establishment’s role in politics.
The crowd chanted slogans of ‘Go Niazi go’.
The members of the crowd interacted with Maryam Nawaz’s question of ‘who is the real truckler in the country right now? The response by the crowd was Imran Khan. The loudest cheers were heard when Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif took stage, in a display of Lahore’s strong support for them.
The writer is co-founder Future of Pakistan Conference and a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.