The followers of Ghosia Jamaat in Sindh and Punjab are making arrangements for a public gathering scheduled on November 27 in Ghotki, a town of Sindh bordering Punjab, where their spiritual leader, former foreign minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) stalwart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi has to announce his new political beginning. Qureshi, who remained at a distance from his party after losing the office of the foreign minister, is expected to disclose his future political course of action on the occasion.
He is expected to formally announce parting ways with the PPP and join another party – most likely the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. According to sources close to the Ghosia Jamaat, the followers of Qureshi in Sindh and Punjab have been directed to attend the Ghotki public gathering. There are a number of his followers in Ghotki and its surrounding areas, while the followers from Tharparkar and Sanghar are also expected to rush towards Ghotki. Many believe that Qureshi could inflict a blow on the ruling PPP in the forthcoming general elections in areas where his Ghosia Jamaat has influence, including the Ghotki district. Other areas where the Jamaat has a large number of followers include Tharparkar and Sanghar districts. “Whether our murshid (spiritual leader) joins the Tehreek-e-Insaf or the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, we will support that party,” said Imdad Chachar, a khalifa of the Ghosia Jamaat in the Pano Aqil area of Ghotki. In a telephonic conversation with Pakistan Today from his hometown, he said that they have no personal political likes or dislikes. “We have been supporting the PPP because of our spiritual leader’s presence in that party and now we will support whichever party that he joins,” he added. But others do not agree with the notion, saying that it is not necessary that followers of a spiritual group will support the political party, which their spiritual leader is part of. “Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Ghous Bux Maher is among the followers of the Ghosia Jamaat, but he never joined the PPP even though the spiritual leader was present in that party,” said Wali Muhammad Rahimoon, one of the Jamaat’s followers in Tharparkar. “Many followers of the Ghosia Jamaat in Sindh were arrested for participating in the Movement for Restoration of Democracy in 1983 when the then gadi nasheen of the Jamaat, Qureshi’s father, was supporting General Ziaul Haq,” he added to support his viewpoint. However, a journalist from Ghotki, Allahwaraho Bozdar, has a different opinion. He said that if Qureshi joins another party, it would definitely politically influence most of his spiritual followers, but might not make a difference in terms of election politics. Giving an example to support his opinion, he said that in Ghotki district, the majority of the Ghosia Jamaat’s followers belong to Chachar tribe, but they are also divided on local political and tribal lines. However, political observers agree that the Tehreek-e-Insaf would greatly benefit if Qureshi joins it as the party would gain many supporters in the rural areas of the Sindh, where traditionally, the ruling PPP has enjoyed sole support.