KARACHI: Under the umbrella of the Karachi Press Club (KPC), journalists and their unions as well as many activists and politicians staged a protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza here on Monday.
They stood in solidarity with not just the innocent Palestinians, but also with the media houses whose offices were destroyed by the Israelis. The cowardly act of muffling the media was condemned by all.
They chanted slogans such as ‘Stop attacks on the innocent’, ‘Atrocities against Palestine unacceptable’, ‘Down with Israel’ and ‘We will keep protesting till the downfall of Israel’.
“The airstrikes,” they said did not just pull down the building leaving members of the media out in the open without their equipment, it also exposed Tel Aviv’s claim about press freedom. “Israel did not even show the slightest respect for press and media freedom covering the war. The fresh offensive into Gaza has given rise to threats against journalists in the war-hit zones of Palestine by the Zionist regime of Israel,” they added.
Slam Tel Aviv’s targeting of building in Gaza housing offices of media outlets
Speaking on the occasion KPC secretary Mohammad Rizwan Bhatti slammed Israel for carrying out genocide of innocent Muslims and also for carrying out airstrikes at the building in Gaza which housed the Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press (AP) offices.
He appealed to the United Nations to step up its efforts to de-escalate the war.
Former KPC secretary Aamir Latif said that they stood in solidarity not just with the innocent Palestinians but also with the media persons, who “are in Gaza as we speak. Even if this bombardment stops for a while, it begins again. The main problem is the powerful countries looking out for Israel and their agenda. We need to think about how to support and back Palestinians in their difficult time just like the West backs Israel,” he said.
President of the Pakistan Association of Press Photographers Mohammad Jamil said that he with all the press photographers in Karachi also condemned Israel’s atrocities against the people of Palestine. “It is plain terrorism. It should be stopped immediately,” he said.
Mahfooz Yar Khan of the MQM-P said: “Journalism is under attack all over the world and now Israel has surpassed all limits. It is sad that those who talk about human rights are only good for passing resolutions and nothing else,” he said.
Qazi Ahmed Noorani of the Palestine Foundation Pakistan said that bad times for Israel were near as they had attacked freedom of the press. “By pulling down the building, which housed offices of two major media houses, they have made the media pull up its socks. Now you’ll see even those human interest stories coming out of Gaza that were rarely reported earlier,” he said. “They will show the resilience of the Palestinians who still stand with heads held high against the oppressors.”
Nasir Zaidi of the Palestine Foundation Pakistan also said that it was only a matter of time before Israel’s game was up.
Asghar Azeem, secretary of the Sports Journalists Association Sindh, said that Israel now wanted to thwart the truth by attacking the media. “But we the media all over the world are with AP and Al Jazeera to make them and others reporting in Gaza even more stronger now. Together we are going to build pressure on all those countries turning their backs on Palestine to stand up for them,” he said.
Dr Usama Razi of the Jamaat-i-Islami said that whatever Israel was doing could be compared with what India was trying to do also.
Jamaluddin Siddiqui of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said that there should be more protests to highlight Israel’s atrocities. “Opening the eyes of other countries to Israel and its ugly agenda is the need of the hour. Pakistan is with Palestine,” he said.
Ijaz Ahmed of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists said that the bravery of the innocent children, their mothers and other unarmed innocent people of Palestine needed to be applauded. “They are using stones and slingshots while facing guns and high-tech war weapons,” he said.
Karachi Union of Journalists secretary Fahim Siddiqui said that whatever the situation in Palestine, it should have been condemned by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Rafiq Ahmed of Jang Union appealed to the people to boycott all items that are owned by Israelis. “A fraction of their income is diverted towards terrorist activities, so I urge you to boycott soft drinks, biscuits, cosmetics, etc, that are made by Israeli companies,” he said.
Syed Abdul Rasheed of the Jamaat-i-Islami said that what Israel was doing is nothing new. He demanded a united front and jihad against Israel.
KUJ Dastoor’s secretary Moosa Kaleem said being a Muslim he felt as he had been attacked. “If any Muslim county bleeds so do we. We cannot sit and watch this quietly,” he said.
Zahid Mansoor, a politician, said that he wanted to see each citizen of each Muslim country fight for Palestinians’ rights.
Hameed Ur Rehman of the KPC governing body and KPC’s vice president also spoke.
Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2021