Dawn News

Syrians in Pakistan against Bashar

Syrian protestors outside the Syrian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Photo by the writer

ISLAMABAD: For the 200 protesters standing outside the Syrian Embassy in Islamabad on Thursday, their main demand was freedom for their countrymen back home.

Condemning the trigger-happy policies of their country's ruler President Bashar Al-Assad, who shelled unarmed civilians, the Syrians in Islamabad were joined by Yemenis, Palestinians and Pakistanis in the protest.

The protesters said that over 850 registered murders are enough a reason for the regime to step down. Carrying Syrian flags and chanting 'Irhal, Irhal' (leave, leave), Syrians from all sects and religions presented in Pakistan participated in the protest.

Most protesters burnt their Baath party membership which was thrust upon them at the time of their birth. "We send our resignations from the ruling party besides sending our demands through courier tomorrow," said an organiser of the demonstration.

"I have been unable to reach my family for the last four weeks and I dread the worst," said Anas Khalil, a citizen from the town of Latakia.

"Though we cannot go home now but we trust our people that they will change the regime Insha-Allah," said Khadija Shabaan. She hails from Daraa and was clearly uncomfortable as she told this scribe that she had little information about her brothers and sisters there.

“I am determined to come here every day to register my protest and my Pakistani friends have promised to join me."

Khadija believes that she would not get any support from the embassy after this protest as "the diplomats from Damascus are here to work for Bashar's family than the people."

"We used to be close friends but now after the troops started killing Syrians, our relations with Alawites are tense who keep abusing and threatening us on Faceboook pages as well as through text messages," says Naoras Abdullah, a resident of Hama, where Bashar's father killed over 10,000 peaceful protestors in February 1982.

Ahmad Al-Sori said: "We are unable to transfer money. Businesses back home have closed down due to the law and order situation while the government has placed curbs on telephones and the internet. This means we do not know how are friends and families are in Syria. The lives of many Syrian students here in Pakistan are getting harder by the day."

The protesters were joined by Pakistani civil society activists. Engineer Sajid criticised the Pakistani policies towards the changing Middle East.

"The influence of United States is curse on Pakistan and Islamabad may not help our Syrian, Yemeni and Libyan brothers and sisters without Washington's nod which is such a shame," he regrets.

On the other hand, a Yemeni protester spoke for the entire Middle East. Ahmad Moosa notes: "Our souls are ready for sacrifice. We would remain peaceful whatever happens even if you kill us. We want the whole world to know who Bashar Al-Assad, Ali Abdullah Saleh and Muammar Qadhafi are."

Some officials of the embassy quietly shot videos of the protesters and took photos while the ambassador, Ali Al-Mohra, watched from his office window.

It must be noted that the Islamabad administration had denied permission for the peaceful protest while the ministry of foreign affairs has never protested against the killings of innocent people in Syria over the last two months. As the Syrian uprising enters its eighth week with continuous reports of state-sponsored bloodshed, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the regime to halt mass arrests and to heed calls for reform.

The protesters are planning more demonstration in the cities of Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Sialkot, Hyderabad and Karachi to show solidarity with their Syrian brothers.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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Comments (5) Closed

May 13, 2011 06:03pm
Syrians should protest the repressive regime of Bashar ul assad but at the same time they should make sure their struggle is not hijacked by Americans because their 'help' usually ends with the country shattered to pieces ...afghansitan and Iraq being prime examples. We pray for real democracy for ALL muslims
May 13, 2011 08:59pm
Our thoughts and prayers with the Syrian brothers. The people of Syria, as well as Libya, and Yemen, are being oppressed by these ruthless dictators. These dictators should fear their own end, this life is very temporary. How would they face the creator, Allah (SWT) on the day of judgement. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on us all, including Pakistan which is going thru tough times of its own, and mainly due to oppressing Rulers that will not give any heed to their own citizens.
May 13, 2011 09:32pm
I have one more thing to add. It's not just the "US" influence on Pakistani Politics. It is also Saudi Arabian influence, because they don't support democracy and power to the people in the Arab world. And what about Pakistan's silence on Bahrain? Aren't they important too?
May 14, 2011 02:52pm
I truly agree with you... Saudis support the religious extremist group in Pakistan so that the country is alway under harms way and Saudi Arabia, being our so call big brother, is always their to help. Which explains why we believe in their lies and sell our lands to them...
Nadeem Shah
May 14, 2011 04:54pm
Stop blaming the US for everything. It is Arab dictators that are the problem, why dont you blame your own Muslim leaders who dont want to give up power and want to force people to live in perpetual tyranny? Western nations dont treat their people like this, they dont shoot their protestors on the streets, its our own Muslim leaders, lets not live in a world of lies and blame everything on the US. The US is not even pro Syria or Assad, never has been. Democracy suits the US more, so dont know why our people are so stupid as to blame the US for everything even though we get aid, F16s and other military aid to protect ourselves against our arch foes including India. We should thank America sometimes, it is not the enemy our mullahs love us to think they are. The problem starts with Saudi Arabia who encourages other arab dictators to stand fast against pro democracy dictators, it supported Egypts Mubarek, it supported the bahrainis, the Algerians, the Syrians, Libyans, not the people but the dictator, so why blame USA? Are you too afraid to blame Saudi King who is at the forefront of supporting Arab dictators?