Shia protesters oppose Pakistan's involvement in Saudi-led coalition

Published January 8, 2016
A woman holds a sign for cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia. —Reuters
A woman holds a sign for cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia. —Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of people joined a Shia-led protest in Islamabad on Friday against the government's decision to join Saudi Arabia's 34-country coalition against extremism, as Riyadh's foreign minister ended a two-day visit to the country.

The protesters presented a memorandum to the Foreign Office spokesman demanding Pakistan to drop out of the alliance, which was announced in December and is seen as the latest sign of a more assertive foreign policy by the Saudi kingdom, the dominant Muslim power in the Middle East.

“Neither the Pakistan army nor the nation is for rent, we will oppose any attempts to sell the army to the house of Saud for a few billion riyals,” said Shia activist Gul-e-Zahra, addressing the Friday's rally.

Pakistan announced on Thursday they would join the Saudi-led military alliance to fight “terrorism” in the Islamic world, following a meeting between Riyadh's foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Saudi Arabia announced the coalition last month, naming Pakistan as a member, but Islamabad had initially reacted cautiously saying it needed further details before deciding the extent of its participation.

In a separate rally in the capital, an estimated 1,500 people chanted slogans against Saudi's execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on January 2, which sparked a deepening crisis between Riyadh and regional rival Iran.

An ASWJ supporter  holds a placard to condemn the attack on Saudi consulate in Iran. —Reuters
An ASWJ supporter holds a placard to condemn the attack on Saudi consulate in Iran. —Reuters

Small scale rallies against the Saudi coalition were also organised in Lahore, however, protests were also held in Islamabad against Iran, with demonstrators accusing Tehran of “meddling “in Saudi Arabia's internal affairs.

The protesters chanted slogans vowing to “lay down their lives for the protection of the custodians of the holy cities”, a term used for the ruling Saudi family.

Opinion

Editorial

Spy games
Updated 02 Oct, 2022

Spy games

The audios leaked so far appear to have been carefully curated: they apply pressure but do not do major damage.
‘Geopolitical football’
02 Oct, 2022

‘Geopolitical football’

THE US-China rivalry is by all measures one of the globe’s most dangerous competitions for power and influence. ...
Fuel price reduction
02 Oct, 2022

Fuel price reduction

ISHAQ Dar is back; so are his signature policies. The reduction of a little over 5pc in fuel prices announced by him...
Untruths and politics
Updated 01 Oct, 2022

Untruths and politics

It would arguably be in the national interest for the Supreme Court to take up the cipher and settle the matter.
Farmers’ protest
01 Oct, 2022

Farmers’ protest

SEVERAL hundred farmers have converged on Islamabad for the last three days to protest against the soaring costs of...
Dasht-i-Barchi bombing
01 Oct, 2022

Dasht-i-Barchi bombing

ON Friday morning, Kabul’s Dasht-i-Barchi neighbourhood was rocked by a terrorist attack targeting an educational...