KARACHI - The Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf came face to face on Monday as representatives of both parties setup separate camps at Hakeem Said ground where they plan to hold public meetings on May 12.

The both parties also held press conferences separately and announced that they would be holding the public gathering at the same ground and will not back off from their decisions.

The local leadership of both the parties visited the venue. The activists on both sides also seemed charged during the face-off and raised slogans against each other.

Addressing a press conference at PPP Media Cell, Sindh Minister for Planning and Development Saeed Ghani blamed the PTI for trying to sabotage the peace of the city and forcefully trying to hold a public gathering at Hakeem Saeed ground on May 12, a venue where PPP had also announced the public gathering on the same date.

Flanked by Sindh General Secretary Waqar Mehdi and other PPP Karachi leadership, the PPP Karachi President Saeed Ghani said: “PTI is camping at the ground and trying to create a tense situation in the city.”

“We submitted a request to the deputy commissioner East on Friday and officially got permission for the public gathering and on the other hand the PTI on its official Twitter handle announced the venue at the Mazar-e-Quaid and the same was also reported in media,” he said adding that such tactics were also used in past to halt PPP activities in the metropolis and PTI is acting as the B team of MQM-P.

Ghani said that he also made contact with PTI Karachi leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi who refused to listen to him and said that they had been occupying the public the ground and therefore it was their right to hold public gathering there.

“Despite being in government we are adopting all legal procedures for holding the gathering and had also acquired permission from district east for the gathering,” Ghani said adding that similar situation occurred when their gathering and MQM-H gathering venues and dates collided in Liaquatabad and Afaq Ahmed agreed to postpone his gathering for a week.

He said that the PTI is doing politics of terror and hooliganism in the city and are implementing on the agenda of MQM-P. “After its failure to tackle PPP on political ground, the MQM-P has launched its B-team against PPP,” he said.

The top PPP office bearer of the city said that the current situation has occurred due to the groupings among the PTI ranks as one of their leaders want to hold gathering at Mazar-e-Quaid while the other is insisting to hold gathering at Hakeem Said play ground.

“Imran Khan has warned to remove the Karachi based party leadership if the May 12 gathering proves a flop show and that is why the party leaders are trying to create a situation to avoid any backlash,” he said adding that it was the responsibility of the political parties to ensure sustainability of the peace in the city that was brought after sacrifices from the masses and security forces.

He said that the PTI had always sought support from MQM-P in past to hold its public gatherings in the city and assured them that their leadership would not talk against the MQM leadership in the gathering.

He said that the PTI had also supported MQM-P candidate for district west chairman.

He further said that all preparations have been made to hold the rally at the venue and they cannot change the location anymore. “If PTI had told us earlier we could have done something but now all our preparations are complete.”

On the other hand, PTI’s Parliamentary Leader in Sindh Assembly Khurram Sher Zaman said they would hold their rally at the ground on May 12 at any cost.

“PPP is using force to suppress political activities,” the PTI leader added.

PTI Karachi President Firdous Shamim Naqvi also asserted and said that they had initially announced and planned the gathering at the venue and the PPP came after them, fearing that PTI show on the main city artery could be a loss for the PPP.

“Soon after this situation erupted, I telephoned PPP leaders including Saeed Ghani some days back and took him into confidence over this issue,” he said adding that they had come to know that PPP would organise Jalsa in Baldia, that’s why we opted to select this ground.

He said that this was not ‘Pak-India border’ and the ruling party should show restraint and reconsider its decision and give PTI a chance to hold its event.