Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched across Pakistan on Friday to denounce Israel’s attacks on Gaza as the country observed Palestine Solidarity Day while expressing support for Kashmir.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani led a peaceful march in Islamabad in front of the parliament house that was also attended by lawmakers, journalists and civil society members.
Condemning Israeli aggression, protesters expressed solidarity with Palestinians.
“The voice of the Palestinians cannot be silenced as the Palestine issue is the issue of the entire Muslim Ummah,” said Qaiser.
He supported Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for a world conference, saying his country will continue to support the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.
The lawmakers also showed solidarity with Kashmiris and strongly condemned Indian forces’ violence against the people in the Indian-administered territory
“May 21 is a dark day in the history of IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir]. Today, 31 years ago in 1990, Kashmiri leader of the freedom movement Mirwaiz Maulvi Muhammad Farooq was martyred in Srinagar. Illegal occupation forces opened fire at protestors on his funeral, martyring 70 more Kashmiris,” said Pakistan National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf.
“Many more Kashmiri leaders remain incarcerated in IIOJK. Every Pakistani feels their pain and shares their desire for freedom,” added Yusuf.
Later, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, along with government and opposition party leaders, arrived at the UN mission and presented a joint resolution of the National Assembly of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s National Assembly — lower parliamentary house — unanimously adopted a resolution on Monday that condemned Israeli aggression against Palestinians and the killing of hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
Big Rallies Across Pakistan
Meanwhile, big rallies were also held in the capital Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad and other cities on the call of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Pakistan’s two main religiopolitical parties.
In Islamabad, thousands of people rallied at the capital’s famous D-Chowk roundabout, less than a mile away from the Parliament House, to express solidarity with Palestinians.
Carrying Palestinian flags, banners and posters with pictures of children, wounded people and destroyed buildings, the protesters chanted anti-Israel slogans.
Addressing the rally, JI chief Sirajul Haq strongly condemned the Israel airstrikes in Gaza and Al-Aqsa, saying Israel is committed “terrorism and war crimes” by killing over 250 innocent people, most of them women and children.
He added today millions of Pakistanis came out on roads in over 200 small and big cities across the country to show solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters.
Haq also announced holding a “million march” in Karachi on May 23 and northwestern Peshawar on May 30, to show solidarity with Palestinian people.
“We are in contact with all Islamic movements around the world and will never leave the Palestinians alone,” Haq said.
In Peshawar, JUI’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while addressing a large rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar, criticized the US for its role in vetoing UN Security Council efforts against Israel.
“This continuing terrorism under the auspices of the United States is evidence that the United States is the largest terrorist,” said Rehman.
He added that Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque is aggression against the entire Islamic Ummah (community(.
“World powers silence on Israeli barbarism is a heinous crime. Islamic countries need to show unity and provide support to Palestinian people,” he added.
The death toll from the Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip since May 10 has risen to 243, including 39 women and 66 children, the Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Friday.
A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian resistance group, took effect at 2 a.m. Friday (2300GMT Thursday).
The truce brokered by Egypt came after 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the blockaded Gaza Strip that left behind a massive trail of destruction across the seaside territory.