Tens of thousands of people marched in support of the Palestinians on Friday as the nation observed Palestinian Solidarity Day to condemn barbaric Israeli assaults on the innocent civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Shrugging aside restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic, people waved Palestinian flags and placards that read "All unite to free Palestine" and "Boycott Israel" at the rallies, organised by various parties and groups, in a number of cities across the country including Islamabad and Karachi.
In Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, demonstrators burned Israeli flags while the slogan of "Death to Israel" echoed across the federal capital, amid a rare show of unity between the government and the opposition lawmakers, as they walked together in a rally to the UN offices.
Prime Minister Imran Khan applauded the rallies and said international public opinion was tilting in favour of the Palestinians. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted: “You need to be a human being to condemn [whatever is going on in Palestine].”
In Islamabad, the parliament also expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people in the wake of the latest Israeli atrocities. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani led a rally to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.
The lawmakers presented a copy of the resolution passed by the National Assembly earlier this week, to the UN office in the form of a memorandum. Speaking to the media at the end of the protest rally, Speaker Asad Qaiser strongly condemned the Israeli aggression on Palestine.
“The parliament has become the voice of the whole nation on the issue of Palestine and at present the whole parliament is standing with the government. “Israeli oppression is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The voice of the Palestinians cannot be muted,” he added.
While welcoming the announcement of a ceasefire in Gaza after 11 days of relentless Israeli bombing, Qaiser said that the world would have to make serious decisions on the war crimes that Israel was committing.
“Pakistan had a clear stance regarding Palestine. The parliament had passed a unanimous resolution ahead of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to the United States to give a clear message that the whole nation was unanimous on the Palestine issue.”
He reiterated Pakistan’s support for Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s demand for convening a world conference for peace. Pakistan will continue its political and diplomatic efforts for durable peace in Palestine and Kashmir,” Qaiser said.
On the occasion, Senate Chairman Sanjarani said that the Pakistani nation stood by “our Palestinian brothers”. He added that if the United Nations did not raise its voice for the Palestinian people the global forum would not last.
Sanjrani said that Pakistan and the Pakistani nation would be at the forefront against oppression anywhere in the world. “Kashmir has been turned into a jail for more than a year,” he said, urging the world powers, including the United States, to respond to these atrocities.
Earlier in the day, the government and the opposition agreed on the Palestinian issue, as the treasury benches in the National Assembly agreed to the invitation from the opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif to go with him to the UN offices.
“We want to present the unanimous resolution passed by the National Assembly to the United Nations,” Shahbaz informed the house. “Government members should also accompany us,” he added. Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf welcomed the suggestion.
“This will set a good example for the future and strengthen the House,” Ashraf, who belongs to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) added. Amir Dogar, chief whip of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) accepted the offer, saying that the entire House was on one page on the issue of Palestine.
Later, opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and other lawmakers staged a joint protest against Israel's aggression. Later Speaking to media outside the UN offices, Shehbaz said that the resolution of the National Assembly was presented to the UN envoy.
“The Palestinians were persecuted and bombed by Israel. A large number of people were martyred, there was barbaric assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Such tragic scenes had never been seen before,” Shehbaz, the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said.
Senate Chairman Sanjarani accompanied by a delegation of senators also visited the Palestinian embassy to express solidarity with the Palestinians. He also recorded his impressions in a guest book at the embassy.
“Today we send a message to our Palestinian brethren that the Pakistani nation as a whole stands by them in every hour of trial. Pakistan will never leave the Palestinians alone in their just struggle for independence,” Sanjrani said.
“[We] will continue to raise its voice for their rights on every platform. It is the moral responsibility of all Muslim countries to take joint and comprehensive action to resolve the Palestine issue,” he added.
The delegation strongly condemned the bombing by Israeli occupation forces, storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Israeli atrocities being carried out against worshippers and innocent unarmed Palestinians.
“Forced eviction of the Palestinians is a serious violation of basic human rights and international law,” said Deputy Senate Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi.
(WITH INPUT FROM AGENCIES)
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