KARACHI, March 20: The American-led invasion of Iraq on Thursday evoked widespread condemnation of Washington’s policies and expression of solidarity with the people of Iraq in their hour of trial.

Political and religious parties and groups were in the forefront of the condemnation in this port city where the strike call for Friday by the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal was endorsed at a protest rally.

Protesters condemned President George W. Bush for his “crimes against humanity” and burnt his effigy and the US flag to give vent to their feelings.

The also pleaded with the American people, especially the American housewives, to restrain the Bush Administration from killing innocent people of Iraq. They also cautioned that if sanity would not prevail, destiny could bring the American people face to face with a similar situation.

The MMA leaders appealed the participants of the rally to hold protest demonstrations outside mosques after Friday prayers to condemn US-led invasion of Iraq and express solidarity with Iraqis.

The rally was organized on one hour notice and held outside the Binnori Mosque, New Town, after Asr prayers.

Prof Ghafoor Ahmad, Senator and central leader of Jamaat-i-Islami and the MMA, said that the US and British army operation against Iraq was an example of ‘worst state terrorism’.

“Why doesn’t the US ask Israel to destroy its weapons of mass destruction? he questioned and pointed out that it was the US itself which had the biggest stockpile of such weapons. He warned that despite its military might, pomp and show, the US was destined to suffer worst defeat and after the war, the US will no more have the status of a super power.

Unlike rulers of many Muslim countries, he declared, the people of Islamic states were free and would never surrender to the US aggression.

He regretted that opposition parties had initiated a debate on foreign policy in the National Assembly, but not a single member of the treasury benches came up with condemnation of the US highhandedness.

Prof Ghafoor observed that the United States defied and disrespected the UN Security Council, Non-aligned Movement, Arab League, Organization of Islamic Countries, and other international organizations on the question of the invasion.

Maulana Abdul Karim Abid said that the US had insulted the entire civilized world. He said that like Soviet Union, the US would also face dismemberment.

Allama Hasan Turabi said that attack on Iraq was invasion of entire world of Islam. He warned that if Gen Musharraf took any decision against the people’s aspiration, feeling and sentiments, he would have to quit.

Hafiz Muhammad Taqi said the US aggression had caused great harm to the entire humanity and that people of Pakistan stood by their Iraqi counterparts in this hour of trial.

Maulana Arshad Zahid warned that if the rulers failed to come to their senses, Pakistan could be the next target after Iraq. He saw Saudi Arabia and Iran in the same queue.

Maulana Omar Sadiq said that they were ready to offer every sacrifice on the orders of their leader.

Nasrullah Shaji said that US invasion of Iraq was aimed at occupying the oil reserves in the entire Middle East.

Shaikh Rafique Ahmad, who conducted the proceedings, appealed to the people to boycott the US-made products.

REACTION: Various other political leaders have condemned the US-led war against Iraq and described it as “a war against humanity.”

Students, teachers and NGOs staged protest demonstrations at various places in the city to denounce the US and its allies.

The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, Sindh, condemned the attack on

Iraq and termed it “a crime against humanity” and a blow to the UN and other peace-keeping organizations.

Talking to newsmen, MMA Sindh President Maulana Asadullah Bhutto said despite a strong worldwide opposition, the attack on Iraq showed that it was aimed at occupying Muslim countries and the aggressors had no sympathy for innocent people, women and children.

Senator Prof Ghafoor Ahmed, deputy chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami, condemned the US-led attack on Iraq and described it as “a war against the whole civilized world.”

“The attack on Iraq shows that the US wants to implement its agenda at any cost,” he said.

He said rulers of Muslim countries should now realize the dangers of supporting the US. Instead of siding with anti-Muslim forces, they should get united.

The Secretary-General of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf, Meraj Mohammed Khan, condemned the US attack on Iraq and said peace-loving forces should wake up and launch a joint struggle against “the coalition of evil.”

He said the United Nations, especially France, China and Russia, should move a resolution against the US and Britain and take a stand against this aggression to get the status of the UN restored.

Prof N. D. Khan of the Pakistan People’s Party condemned the US-led attack on Iraq and said without UN mandate, the attack was a violation of international law and brutality against innocent people.

“The attack is aimed at imposing Israeli hegemony on the Middle East. It will lead to a surge in terrorism in the world,” he added.

PML-N leader Mamnoon Husain condemned the US-led attack on Iraq and asked world powers, specially Muslim countries, to intervene and protect their Muslim brethren.

The Pasban staged a protest demonstration at Lea Market against the US-led aggression against Iraq.

Pasban President Altaf Shakoor said the attack on Iraq was a result of Pakistan’s Afghan policy.

ORGANIZATIONS: A representative meeting of 21 literary, social, political and labour organisations, held at Karachi Press Club on Thursday under the auspices of Citizens Committee Against War, urged the government to condemn in unequivocal terms the naked US aggression against Iraq and to ask Washington to vacate all its bases in Pakistan.

The meeting, presided over by senior journalist Hasan Abidi, urged the government not to accept any US request for logistic facilities in the country.

Several resolution were adopted at the meeting. One of them demanded of the US to withdraw all its forces from Iraq and other countries of the Middle East.

The meeting, which also decided to stage a protest rally at 4pm Saturday at KPC, urged the UN to initiate proceedings for the expulsion of the US from its fold for defying the world body.

The meeting recorded appreciation of various governments that have taken an unambiguous stand against war. It also appreciated the role of the peace-loving people of the world, especially of the US, for holding massive protest rallies against the US war-mongering.

The meeting appealed to the citizens of Karachi to wear black arm-bands and hoist black flags atop their houses and vehicles as a mark of protest.

SHCBA: The Sindh High Court Bar Association has castigated the United States for its unwarranted invasion of Iraq.

A press statement issued by SHCBA President Muneer A. Malik on Thursday said: “The SHCBA condemns in the strongest terms the unjustified, wholly illegal and immoral attack by the United States and its co-conspirators on the sovereign nation of Iraq in order to subjugate its people and usurp control over the world’s largest oil reserves.

“The aggression must be condemned by all right-minded people, who must stand by Iraq in its hour of trial.”

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