The two main rival political parties in Pakistan have held massive rallies in preparation for the October General Election.
The two main rival political parties in Pakistan have held massive rallies in preparation for the October General Election. The voting will determine which party will succeed the military rule of General Mohammad Zia-ul Haq, who took over the country in July after four months of post-election political crisis.
SYNOPSIS: The army took over from the Pakistan People's Party government of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was swept back into power in the March elections. But persistent allegations of vote-rigging led to a political crisis; and eventually to Mr. Bhutto's arrest.
At a massive rally in Rawalpindi, photographs of Mr. Bhutto were everywhere -- but he's in detention, waiting to go on trial some time before the October 18th election. So the rally was led by his former Religious Affairs Minister, Kausar Niazi. He told the delighted crowd that 'a government without the Pakistan People's Party would never be a people's government', and added these words: 'If the PNA grabs power through the back door we will not allow them to rule,' he said.
The rival Pakistan National Alliance held a rally in the same square two days later. It's been allowed by the military caretaker government to operate with comparative freedom. It was in this very square that Pakistan's first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951, and four years ago, 20 people were killed and scores of other injured when shots were fired at a PNA public rally. Meanwhile, the PNA, a grouping of nine parties, is widely reported as favourite to win next month's election. It's been helped by Mr. Bhutto's arrest, and allegations of corruption and political assassinations during his five and a half years in power.