ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI, Sept 6: It was the usual India-US bashing at the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) rally held in the twin cities to mark Defence Day on Friday.
Chanting slogans and holding banners, the emotionally-charged JuD activists and madressah students blamed New Delhi and Washington DC for the woes of Pakistan.
“We came here to show the US that the people of Pakistan will stand up for the rights of the Muslims of Kashmir, Egypt and Syria,” said Mohammad Akbar, a 29-year-old unemployed man from Gujranwala.
He said JuD wanted the supremacy of the Muslims and for this cause he had come to attend the rally.
“The people of Kashmir will not get their rights without the help of the Muslims of the world,” he said.
Allah Ditta, 20, a madressah student from Okara, said he and his friends had come to attend the rally on the call of JuD to show their strength to the enemies.
“Defence Day … I don’t know, but I came here for the rights of the oppressed Muslims in Kashmir, Egypt and Syria. We want to send a message to the US that military action against any Muslim country is unacceptable,” he said.
Almost all participants accused the US and India of collaborating to slow down the pace of economic progress in Pakistan.
“They joined hands in Afghanistan to topple the Muslim government of Taliban and get access to the natural resources of the country,” said Mujahid Ali, a seminary student from Bhakkar.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people reached the twin cities from Punjab and Azad Kashmir to take part in the rally despite a ban imposed by the Rawalpindi city administration.
The city district government allowed JuD to organise the Friday congregation at Liaquat Bagh but it did not give them the permission to march towards the federal capital.
The outfit had also installed loudspeakers and banners on Benazir Bhutto Road and Liaquat Road despite the ban.
However, on the request of Rawal Town administrator Mohammad Ali Randhawa, the organisers removed the banners.
“I showed them the orders of District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajid Zafar after which they removed the loudspeakers and the banners,” Mr Randhawa said.
When asked about the ban on the rally, the administrator said it was the duty of the police to stop them.
On the other hand, a police official, requesting not to be named, said the government had not instructed them to stop the participants from holding the rally.
“Though there was no permission for the rally, we will not take any decision against the organisers without getting orders from the provincial government,” he said.
However, despite the ban on holding rallies, the JuD chief, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, led hundreds of his party activists and madressah students to D Chowk in Islamabad.
During the rally, traffic on the roads in Rawalpindi and Islamabad remained choked with the police seeming helpless to control the movement of vehicles on Islamabad Expressway, Blue Area, Kashmir Highway and Benazir Bhutto Road.
Addressing the rally at D Chowk, Hafiz Saeed called upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take steps to stop Indian aggression in Kashmir.
“We expect a courageous step from Nawaz Sharif similar to the one he took during his first tenure and refused to bow to world pressure and went ahead with nuclear tests,” he said.
Hafiz Saeed held India responsible for terrorist activities in Pakistan and said the government-proposed all parties’ conference on terrorism would not achieve its objectives unless India was stopped from carrying out terror activities in the country.
“The holding of the all parties’ conference is a good step but it is also necessary to identity the enemy to get rid of the menace of terrorism,” he said.
Hafiz Saeed said Nawaz Sharif wanted to improve the economic condition of Pakistan but it would not be possible without making the country’s defence impregnable.
“If our borders are secured, people will invest on different projects,” he said.
He also said Pakistan should not be afraid of the US as the latter had faced defeat in Afghanistan and wanted a safe passage from there. “Pakistan should help its Muslim neighbours flush out their enemies to ensure security of its borders,” he added.
The JuD leader further said: “People expected that Nawaz Sharif will introduce Islamic economic laws and eliminate interest system as it was against Islam.”
“If you take the first step, the people of the tribal areas and others will help impose Islamic laws in every field of the country. Islam is the solution to all the problems faced by the country,” he said.
The JuD chief warned the US not to attack Syria, saying that Pakistan should help Syria by uniting all Muslim countries.
Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Secretary General Liaquat Baloch and Mian Aslam criticised India for violating human rights in Kashmir and the US for planning to attack Syria.