ISLAMABAD - Though the debate whether or not Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has achieved the announced targets out of the much-hyped peace march is on, yet the event spanning over two brief days has provided a golden opportunity to the party heads to sort out ways to cope with the menaces of mismanagement and indiscipline in future.
The event witnessed mismanagement throughout the whole episode due to severe lack of coordination among the responsible PTI office bearers. Contrary to the tall claims of “disciplined and changed party”, especially by PTI activists and its leaders in general, several incidents of mismanagement and maltreatment at the hands of concerned PTI office bearers were witnessed not only by the national media men but also by the foreign peace activists, who travelled thousands of kilometres to participate in the peace rally from all across the US.
When the rally - comprising hundreds of vehicles carrying thousands of persons including charged PTI activists, cherish party leaders of different ranks, national and international media, foreign peace and rights activists - left the PTI’s central office at Islamabad, the participants were apparently unaware of the fact that for the rest of two days they would be left at the mercy of God. As soon as the rally took off from the PTI central secretariat, whole of the coordination system among over two-dozen coordinators who were travelling to facilitate the media and PTI activists collapsed. While, the responsible at PTI media cell turned off their cell phones.
Even the PTI activists were not aware of the exact route of the rally. Several local PTI leaders and those activists, who came all the way from Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and other major cities of all four provinces, mistakenly travelled several miles on wrong routes before reaching DI Khan.
Earlier, it was widely propagated by media team of PTI that there would be enough arrangements for rally participants in DI Khan. The situation got worsened when rally landed at an old Army barrack, some 25 kilometres away from DI Khan city on DI Khan-Tank road. “The place remained under the occupation of Army during South Waziristan Operation and currently it belongs to a local PTI leader,” a PTI leader said when he was asked if the place belonged to Army.
But the presence of some low-ranked white-clothed Army men and their traditional black suitcases at the backside of barrack were evident to the fact that participants were going to spend a night at a place belongs to military. Only local and international media, foreign peace activists and PTI leaders were allowed to enter the place while rest of the rally participants were directed to spend night at adjoining uncultivated fields.
Inside the old military barrack, there were around a dozen rooms and a big ground spreading over several acres. The mess created by the villagers who were already inside the barrack kept at bay the media men and foreigners from dining tables.
The chaotic situation forced even Imran Khan to make an announcement that, “for the rest of night we will not sleep and celebrate.” He (Imran) was aware there was no place to sleep and nothing to eat.
At the middle of night, Saturday night, around 1 am the PTI activists were found requesting media men to vacate the rooms as it was allocated to foreign peace activists. In short, several peace activists, foreign media men along with national media men spent the whole night under naked sky either on chairs or grassy ground.
“I am enjoying the “warm hospitality” extended by the PTI,” commented a French journalist who was trying to sleep by connecting two consecutive chairs together.
Later, it was told that Imran Khan was going to address a news conference but the sound system collapsed after hundreds of PTI activists occupied the whole stage meant for media.
On Sunday morning the restless and starved journalists and peace activists came to know there was no water in taps. However, the journey started once again. Marchers started to march towards Kotkai, South Waziristan.
A sizeable portion of rally comprising of around 300 vehicles was travelling ahead of Imran Khan’s convoy. The leader-less front-runners when reached at the entry point of Waziristan, they were told to travel back around 30 kilometres to Tank, as Imran Khan refused to proceed further after Army requested him not to do so on the pretext of security hazards.
Jahaz Ground in Tank was selected to hold a jalsa (gathering). The rally participants were unaware about the timings of jalsa. The rally of 300 vehicles that had reached the entry point of South Waziristan when reached back to Jahaz Ground found their leader (Imran Khan) was about to conclude his speech.