LONDON: Barely two months after the Pakistani state-sponsored rally of President Asif Ali Zardari in the city of Birmingham, former president Pervez Musharraf will address a major public rally in the same city.
Scheduled for 3rd of October in Britain’s second largest city after London, the Oval Banqueting Suite in Birmingham’s Spark hill area has been chosen by supporters of Musharraf to demonstrate that the self-exiled leader of the newly formed party, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), has a lot of muscle to flex and enjoys the support of Pakistanis abroad.
Fans and supporters of Musharraf will travel to London from the Middle East, USA, Europe and Pakistan from where a large contingent, headed by Khursheed Kasuri, Rashid Qureshi, Salman Shah and Barrister Saif, is expected.
Prior to the show of power in Birmingham, key working meetings of his nascent political party will be held in London, including a major session with the media, where Musharraf will launch his party’s manifesto, explain how he rates the current ruling set-up and the opposition and what are his future plans. At the same event, Musharraf will be asked by his supporters to formally accept the leadership of the new political party and announce his team for international branches. The Musharraf supporters are also planning to arrange a big gathering in Manchester on the 9th of October.
A key reason why Musharraf has chosen Birmingham to show that his political base is widening is because of the strong backing he retains from Khalid Mahmood MP, a local Labour MP from Perry Bar constituency. The MP has stood by Musharraf all along and has hosted him at the House of Commons on a number of occasions despite the opposition from many British Pakistani groups.
Chaudhary Aslam Wassan, the APML co-coordinator for Birmingham and the one who is responsible for the arrangements of the Birmingham rally, claimed Musharraf has a lot of support amongst the expatriate Pakistanis who have nostalgia for Musharraf’s time in power when the land mafia and criminal gangs were under control and the foreign investors were flocking to Pakistan.
He claimed that a strong momentum for the APML was building up. Wassan told The News: This rally is being organized as a tribute to Musharraf and his historic period in the office. He served Pakistan whole-heartedly. Compare today’s Pakistan with Mushararf’s period. It has been taken over by bandits who only want Pakistan for their children.