Muzaffarabad/Islamabad, Sep 14, 2019-
Even as he turns bellicose against India on Kashmir, openly appealing to Muslim sentiments, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing increasing calls of “Go Niazi Go Back,” even inside the Parliament.
Just ahead of Imran’s much-publicised ‘Jalsa’ at Muzaffarabad on Friday in support of Kashmir, large crowds of protesters shouted “Go Niazi Go Back”, referring to Imran, whose surname is Niazi.
Imran’s Niazi link reminds Pakistanis of the humiliation of their defeat at the hands of India in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh. The then commanding officer of the Pakistan army, Lieutenant General Ameer Abdullah Khan Niazi, had surrendered his weapon to the Indian Army commander, Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, on December 16, 1971.
The Niazis are Pashtuns living in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan, they settled mostly in Mianwali. However, Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi and Imran Khan Niazi were both born in Lahore.
In November 2014, as an opposition leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Imran had announced a country-wide shutdown on December 16 to protest against the alleged rigging of the 2013 elections.
It is obvious that Imran had forgotten the significance of December 16, a day the Pakistanis do not like to remember. He later changed the date of protest, but not before the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) dubbed him “Imran Khan Niazi”.
Friday’s Jalsa was a poorly attended event, according to reports, with commoners keeping away, and the administration bringing in government officials to fill up the stands. Some have even termed the ‘Jalsa’ as a “flop show”.
Even during President Arif Alvi’s address on Thursday to a joint sitting of the Parliament, members of the opposition drowned out his speech with loud slogans of “Go Niazi Go”, targeted at Imran.
Imran, the chiefs of the navy and air force, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee were present in the session.
Pakistan-administered Kashmir has been witnessing anti-Pakistan and pro-Independence rallies, which are rarely reported by the international media.
On September 9, over 20 persons were arrested after demonstrators clashed with the police near Tatrinote village in PoK.
Tatrinote is about 80 km south of Muzaffarabad, and close to the Line of Control that divides Indian and Pakistan-administered portions of Kashmir.
Mobile phone services in the area were disrupted, complicating reporting of the situation by the media. (Agency)