‘Defence of Pakistan’ rally: Govt warned against NATO route restoration

Published: January 23, 2012

JUD activists climb a tree to get a better view of the speakers. PHOTO: AFP

RAWALPINDI: Merely a kilometre away from the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, thousands of people gathered to ‘show’ their strength against, what they called, anti-Pakistan forces.

Hosted by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of his one-man Awami Muslim League, many leaders from religious, sectarian, and jihadi outfits; previously banned and now operating under different names, charged the jam-packed Liaqat Bagh with their religiously motivated speeches.

“Al-Jihad, Al-Jihad” (the holy war, the holy war) slogans rose from the crowd in response to every fiery claim by orators who warned against the ‘grand conspiracies’ being hatched by the ‘enemies of Pakistan’.

A majority of the participants in the rally were holding Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) flags, led by Hafiz Saeed, whose 17-minute speech, consistently referring to Indian-American aggression against Muslims, resonated with the crowd of over 50,000.

“The current standoff between state institutions is the result of a sin that we committed 10 years ago by allowing our territory to be used against Afghan Muslims, and until we repent for that grave mistake, we will never be able to overcome these issues,” Saeed said.

“This is America’s war and we only want to fight Pakistan’s war.”

Saeed said that India is a greater threat to Pakistan than the US. “The current government is conspiring with the US to give in to Indian supremacy in the region. Granting Most Favoured Nation status is part of that plan. We must practically oppose this.”

He said that the Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC) is working to unite all political and religious parties to thwart these conspiracies and tackle the difficulties that Pakistan is embroiled in.

Speaking later, former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief General (retd) Hamid Gul warned that he would besiege the federal capital with over 2.5 million retired army personnel if the government restores Nato’s supply routes.

People were brought from different corners of the country in buses and vans. There were white shalwar kurta-clad, turbaned and bearded JuD activists from Azad Kashmir, some people from Peshawar, parts of Punjab and from Rawalpindi and Islamabad, but JuD members dominated the crowd.

The rally brought back memories of the leaders of once banned sectarian outfits in the shape of posters of Maulana Azam Tariq, the slain leader of Millat-e-Islami, a faction of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Haq Nawaz Jhangvi of SSP and others. The posters were distributed by the activists of Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal Jammat, who came in large numbers to listen to their leader, Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi.

Activists of the participating religious outfits freely distributed hate material, including jihadi pamphlets, books, CDs and posters inciting sectarian hatred and urging jihad.

Liaquat Road was the main distribution point for these items.

“We were against these people for spreading sectarian hate among Muslims, but they are now using public rallies and conferences for the purpose,” a JuD leader said while talking to The Express Tribune.

More than 2,000 JuD volunteers were responsible for administrative and security matters. Dozens of Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation ambulances, a charity wing of JuD, including mobile operation theatres remained stationed at the venue the whole day.

Murree Road was closed for traffic, which compounded the problems of commuters who were diverted to link roads, causing long traffic jams at multiple points.

Ijazul Haq of Pakistan Muslim League-Zia (PML-Z) and Sheikh Rasheed, both cabinet members during the Musharraf era, asked religious parties for a grand alliance and jihad to stop US and Indian aggression against Pakistan.

They also opposed the government’s intentions to give MFN status to India.

The rally was also attended by Maulana Samiul Haq, Chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam of his own faction, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Munawar Hasan and Ahmed Ludhianvi, and former army chief General (retd) Mirza Aslam Baig.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd,  2012.

Reader Comments (11)

  • Jan 23, 2012 - 7:32AM

    Difa e Pakistan rocks….i love you Hafiz Saeed….you are my manRecommend

  • John B
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:39AM

    Anyone still thinks that PAK will catch up to the economic gravy train of the subcontinent by 2050?

    As the economic prosperity increases, these parties will become mainstream and that will be the major challenge of PAK ,10 years from now.

    Recommend

  • CK
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:58AM

    I want Pakistan to be a secular country which respects and allows freedom for all religions.Recommend

  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jan 23, 2012 - 9:21AM

    It clearly indicate the fact that a lot is still required to crush the Jehadee forces in the Pakistan . World community has to remain there in Afghan itan even after 2014 .

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jan 23, 2012 - 9:28AM

    Pakistani strategic assets have become big liability now. This tsunami should take over DHA and other elite housing places soon. There is no concept of all these perks in an Islamic society and army. They should all be equal and not paid so highly for a poor country. Recommend

  • vasan
    Jan 23, 2012 - 10:02AM

    Where is IK “treat” as promised

    Recommend

  • Udaya Bose
    Jan 23, 2012 - 12:23PM

    Can this really have taken place in Rawalpindi – even blocking a major road- without the full backing of the Pakistan Army?
    This rally takes place at a time that Pakistanis are supposedly congratulating themselves that the Army has lost the confidence to stage a coup and democracy is on the ascendant.
    The more things change in Pakistan, it would appear, the more they remain the same.

    Recommend

  • soldier
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:53PM

    @CK: pakistan doesn’t have to be a secular country to respect other religions…there have been many examples and history vouches for islamic rule was the most tolerating religion to other ones, look at your neighbours, muslims ruled that region…still hinduz, or the recent one, iran has many jews in their country and they are free to carry there religious activities, there a big misconception that islam does not allow this…

    Recommend

  • Abdul Majeed
    Jan 24, 2012 - 9:53AM

    is this a ‘Defah Pakistan’ or ‘Tabah Pakistan’ rally???

    Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Jan 24, 2012 - 12:49PM

    @soldier:
    Does Hafeez Saeed and others mean to have Islamic state like Iran? When I read this article in conjunction with the newa “100000 conversions and counting” published in ET, I doubt Pakistan is or wishes to be an Islamic state as you describr.

    Recommend

  • Anon
    Jan 24, 2012 - 2:35PM

    Where are the drones when you need them?

    Recommend

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