LAHORE - The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) staged an impressive show at Lahore’s historic Mochi Gate in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day on Monday.

It was after a long time that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s party attracted a good number of supporters to ‘Bagh Bayroon Mochi Darwaza’, which is famous as Speakers’ Corner because political parties hold meetings here frequently.

The venue is known for fiery orators it has hosted over the years and birth of political movements. Those who addressed historic gathering at Mochi Darwaza included Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mahatama Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, Zulfqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutoo, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan and Nawaz Sharif.  It is the place where the fiery religious speakers like Ataullah Shah Bokhari and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and secular revolutionary poets like Ustad Daman and Habib Jalib also moved crowds.

‘Chalo Chalo Mochi Gate Chalo—Let everyone go to Mochi Gate’ is the known cry made on many occasions to launch political movements before and after the independence of Pakistan.

Although, PPP’s Monday’s gathering was considered as its effort to regain its lost glory in Punjab and especially in Lahore, the speakers except from Ch Aitzaz Ahsan could not make an appealing  and attractive speeches especially for the young generation. A good number of women and children also attended the event.

Since the present venue has the capacity to accommodate around 5,000 people, the site fell short for jeyalas—the PPP workers. Holding party and national and AJK flags and wearing green, red and white shirts, scattered people could be seen in half kilometre areas the venue. PPP officially claim the gathering was more than 100,000 but independent reports say the number of people were around 20,000 to 25,000.

Besides Lahore, party voters and supporters were arrived from Kasur, Sheikhupura, Okara, Faisalabad, Jhang and other districts to attend the meeting. They reached the venue in the morning but the meeting officially started at around 3pm and continued till  8pm when PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari ended his speech. Zardari reached Mochi Gate from his residence Bilawal House Bahria Town at 6pm amid tight security arrangements. Sindh Police special protection unit controlled the security at the stage before arrival of the former president. Containers were placed at roads leading to the venue and alternate routes were announced for traffic flow. Walkthrough gates were placed to get entry into the ground. As many as 10 CCTV cameras were installed around the meeting ground and around 300 cameras of the Safe City Project were monitoring the movement in near locations. Four SPs, 17 DSP, 20 SHOs and 1500 cops were deployed for security.

A new party song was launched on occasion. A huge portrait of Asif Zardari depicting him a wrestler and hunter of lion (the party symbol of PML-N) was erected inside the venue.

Those who addressed the gathering included Khurished Shah, Yousaf Raza Gilana, Raja Parvez Ashraf, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Ch Manzor Ahmad, Mian Manzor Watoo, Faisal Saleh Hayat, Samina Khalid Ghurki and others.