Tens of thousands of marchers packed Karachi's main thoroughfare on Sunday to voice solidarity with Palestinians.
Waving Palestinian flags, and chanting slogans "Labaik ya Aqsa", and "Down with Israel", the marchers rallied at Shahrah-e Faisal under the Jamaat-e-Islami's banner.
"Al-Aqsa, your defense is our faith" was engraved on a large banner carried by a group of women, while another group of youth attired in T-shirts bearing pictures of Al-Aqsa Mosque, carried a huge Palestinian flag in the middle of the rally.
The rally, the biggest show of solidarity in Pakistan since the recent Israeli escalation, was attended by the leaders of different Sunni, Shia and Christian organisations.
The organisers claimed over 100,000 people attended the rally, which covered a five-kilometre two-way patch of the road. Security agencies, however, put the numbers between 40,000 and 50,000.
In his telephone message, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, noted that the entire Muslim community is throwing its weight behind its traditional support for Palestinians following the Israeli aggression.
"Israel wants to usurp our lands and we will never let it happen. Our brave people have defeated the occupying forces in this battle, which has exposed Israel and its nefarious ideology," Haniyeh went on to say.
"Our resistance carries the blood of our elders, youths, women and children. We will never compromise on that," he said, adding that the Palestinians' resistance has proved that their struggle is "just."
The latest Israeli aggression, he observed, has brought various important changes in the global scenario and exposed Tel Aviv's "nefarious designs." He thanked Pakistanis for their unflinching support for the Palestinians in their struggle.
The Pakistani government, he hoped, will also continue to voice for the Palestinian cause on the global forums.
Addressing the rally, Siraj-ul-Haq, the JI chief, congratulated Palestinians and Hamas on their "successful" resistance against the Israeli forces.
"You can destroy homes, kill unarmed women and children, and bomb civilians but you cannot destroy the resistance, which will continue until Palestine is free," Haq said.
Criticising the role of Western powers, especially the United States, for their failure in halting the Israeli aggression, he said it was not the United Nations or America but the incredible resistance by unarmed Palestinians that forced Tel Aviv to a cease-fire.
The entire Pakistani nation, he maintained, stands beside Palestinians in their just struggle.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2021.