JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman flashes a smile at the rally accompanied on stage by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other leaders on Thursday.—Shakil Adil/White Star
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman flashes a smile at the rally accompanied on stage by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other leaders on Thursday.—Shakil Adil/White Star

KARACHI: The massive power show of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) to condemn the atrocities of Israel against Palestinians and stop any move to recognise the Zionist state by the Pakistan government turned into an anti-government rally where leaders of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan was selling out Kashmir.

The opposition leaders vowed that their rally that would be held on February 5 in Rawalpindi would lead to the fall of “pro-India government” of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Thursday’s rally near Mazar-i-Quaid on New M.A. Jinnah Road was mainly organised by the JUI-F, and attended and addressed by leaders of the PDM including former prime minister and senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Saeed Ghani of the PPP.

They warned the PTI government that any move in favour of Israel could lead to serious repercussions in the country.

PDM leaders claim Imran Khan betraying Kashmir cause

The JUI-F and PDM chief, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, took a step forward in his address to the charged crowd and asked the thousands of participants to be ready for Feb 5 rally in Rawalpindi where the opposition parties would be showing solidarity with the people of Kashmir, which was “sold out” by PM Imran Khan.

He added that that the PDM activities were not going to end anytime soon.

“Keep your passion and motivation charged as this will ultimately lead to the fall of this unjust government,” he said to receive a roar from the crowd. “After Feb 5 rally in Rawalpindi, we would be back here [in Karachi] and then from here we would move to Hyderabad with the same spirit. The free Palestine state and end of unjust Israel is a part of JUI-F manifesto. We will not stop this momentum.”

He accused PM Khan of hatching conspiracies to bury the Kashmir issue since his days in the opposition and for that he had proposed a formula which had allowed the Indian government to justify its claims on the disputed territory.

He asked the people of Pakistan to not trust clarifications of the government about Israel and referred to statements of the PM about India before and after winning the general elections.

“He [PM Khan] was the one who came up with the formula to divide Kashmir between India and Pakistan,” the maulana claimed.

“He was the one who prayed for the victory of extremists and Narendra Modi. And now finally he has sold out Kashmir. The nation can’t trust him about his claims and so-called love for Palestine. The people of Pakistan will sacrifice everything but would not allow any pro-Israel move.”

At the jam-packed venue in the shadow of the Quaid’s mausoleum, the leaders of the opposition parties also came up with their anti-government rhetoric using the opportunity to send message to power corridors and disclose their future line of action.

The power show of the JUI-F, however, caused serious problems for the citizens who suffered hours-long traffic jams on different roads due to security arrangements coupled with horrible gridlock on University Road and Stadium Road due to a cricketing activity in the National Stadium.

PML-N’s Mr Abbasi in his address expressed concerns over the “enforced narrative” being imposed on the country and the fact that people were being “deprived” of their freedom of expression.

Under the same move, he expressed the fear that one could never rule out the possibility which could allow some concessions to Israel from the government of Pakistan.

“The people of Pakistan have different relation with the people of Palestine. They live in each other’s hearts. The people of Pakistan would not accept any logic or reason for any such move. In these circumstances if any step is taken, it would weaken Pakistan and destabilise the nation,” he said.

Sindh Minister and PPP leader Saeed Ghani said his party’s policy under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto on Palestine and unjust occupation by Israel was followed by the Muslim world.

“It’s not just people of Pakistan but Muslims across the world know the role of the PPP and its leaders when it comes to freedom of Palestine and occupation of Israel. It’s a historical viewpoint of the party which it has made crucial part of its foreign policy whenever it came to power,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021

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