Flags fluttered in the wind. Rain drenched leaders and followers alike. But few in the crowd of thousands dared to leave the "Jalsa". Such was the allure of Imran Khan at the Minar E Pakistan on 23rd March 2013. Chanting slogans of change the PTI-ers started gathering at the monument during the wee hours of Saturday. People from all stratas and walks of life could be seen at the Minto Park.
Getting to the park was a test in itself. We, I and my dad, parked our car on the Mall Road, before boarding a PTI-sponsored bus which dropped us at the T-juncture of Lower Mall. There we joined droves of people who marched in droves towards the Minar E Pakistan.
The "jalsa" started around 4pm when the announcer chanted "LAHORRRRRRRRRRE" for the first of many times.
Leaders who addressed the gathering included Aleem Khan, Mehmood ur Rasheed, Abrar ul Haq, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi. Rain started to fall when Khan sahab took the mic to address the "Tsunami Plus". Contents of his speech were similar to earlier speeches, except that he made six promises to the people and asked them to promise on four similar counts.
PTI officials put the number of attendees at a million, a clearly exaggerated figure. But I, present at the venue myself, could only see hordes of heads and flags all around me.
The "jalsa" was a success in itself, but what remains to be seen is whether Imran Khan will be able to gain any significant share in the parliament whose election will be held on May 11.