UI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman (left) addresses supporters during the Al-Aqsa Palestine Conference in Quetta; while (right) Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq delivers a speech at a party rally in Islamabad to express solidarity with the people of Palestine, on Sunday.—PPI
UI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman (left) addresses supporters during the Al-Aqsa Palestine Conference in Quetta; while (right) Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq delivers a speech at a party rally in Islamabad to express solidarity with the people of Palestine, on Sunday.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: The government’s position on the situation in Gaza was criticised on Sunday as tens of thousands of people attended protests organised to condemn Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.

The biggest gathering was held by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) at the Embassy Road in Islamabad, attended by thousands of party workers and leaders.Addressing the gathering, JI emir Sirajul Haq lamented the government for not playing the role which was required on the Gaza issue.

He also questioned the inaction of Muslim rulers and warned that history and the Ummah “would not forgive the rulers of the Islamic world if they failed to take practical steps to safeguard the people of Palestine”.

The JI chief called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, demanding that Washington rescind its support for Israel.

JI, JUI-F, PML-Q hold rallies; Fazl, Siraj censure own government, Muslim world on ‘weak stance’

“Israel’s violation of all international laws and norms and its defiance of the UN General Assembly’s call for a ceasefire has been further aggravated by the launch of a ground assault on Gaza.”

He expressed concern over the mounting death toll and pointed out the disruption of internet services in the besieged region.

Earlier, the party had planned to hold the demonstration outside the US embassy, but the venue was changed after the district administration arrested around 20 party workers on Saturday.

Criticising the administration’s crackdown against JI workers, Mr Haq said the government was “frightened when we announced the march in front of the US Embassy” and called it “unfortunate”.

“I want to ask who do you want to make happy. It was impossible for us to withdraw the call of the march,” he said, while claiming that the police “brutally tortured” several JI workers.

The JUI-F’s protest in Quetta was addressed by the party’s emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

He said the US was “no longer a superpower” and that the government should remove the “shackles of US slavery and stand up against it”.

“...[W]hy aren’t our leaders openly declaring support for the Muslims of Gaza,” he asked while addressing the gathering at Ayub Stadium.

“If our rulers continue to show cowardice today, then the Pakistani nation will stand against its rulers.”

He highlighted the need to convene a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to adopt a new stance in accordance with the changing situation in Gaza.

Hamas leader Naji Zaheer also addressed the event and said the people of Palestine would not surrender and fight for their separate state.

PML-Q protest in Lahore

In Lahore, PML-Q staged a demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

Several party workers and citizens participated in the protest and chanted slogans against Israel’s oppression and attacks on innocent people, including women and children.

In his address, PML-Q chief organiser Chaudhry Sarwar said world nations should take note of Israel’s attacks on Gaza and the Gazans’ lives and property must be protected.

He said the Muslim world should effectively use the Security Council to halt Israel’s attacks on Gaza. “If Israel does not follow UN resolutions, then sanctions should be imposed on it.”

He also stressed the Muslim Ummah’s unity to advocate for an independent Palestinian state. “We will continue standing by the Palestinian people until their liberation.”

Mr Sarwar said the US and European governments were standing with Israel, but their citizens, and those of European countries, were expressing solidarity with Gazans.

Regretting the Israeli oppression in Gaza, he stressed the Muslim world should not act as a silent spectator. He claimed Israel had illegally occupied some 75 per cent of the land of Palestine.

As a member of the British parliament, he said he had visited Palestine 10 times and saw that over 2.2 million people in Gazan were living in an open jail.

“Children were dying due to gun fires and hunger, while there was no medical aid available to them,” he said.

Ikram Junaidi in Islamabad, Saleem Shahid in Quetta and Mansoor Malik in Lahore also contributed to this report.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2023

Opinion

The risk of escalation

The risk of escalation

The silence of the US and some other Western countries over the raid on the Iranian consulate has only provided impunity to the Zionist state.

Editorial

Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...
Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...