Hundreds of people staged a protest on Monday against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.
The protesters gathered in front of the Faisalabad Press Club and staged a sit-in. They chanted slogans against Israel for killing civilians in its attacks.
The protest had been organised by non-government organisations (NGOs) REAT Human Rights Defenders Network, Peace and Human Development Foundation (PHDF), Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM), Idara Samaji Behbood, People’s Empowerment for Human Rights and Leadership and the Lyallpur Development Organisation.
The demonstrators were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans to express solidarity with the Palestinians. They chanted slogans against Israeli military action in the besieged Gaza. Speaking on the occasion, PHDF Director Suneel Malik said hundreds of Palestinians had been killed in the brutal bombardment by the Israeli forces. “The merciless killing of Palestinian citizens by Israeli soldiers amounts to genocide. It must be stopped,” Malik said.
AWAM Coordinator Shazia George said the deadly Israeli offensive in Gaza was a crime against humanity. “The international community and the United Nations must urgently intervene in the conflict to put an end to Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people,” she said.
Tohid Ahmad, a human rights activist, said wars only fostered destruction and bloodshed. “Therefore the conflict in Gaza must be resolved through political means and the two peoples must live in peace for the future of their children,” Ahmad said.
Irshad Parkash, a social worker, said the people of Palestine, including; women and children, were being killed in the Israeli invasion. “The agony, torture and fear inflicted on the women and children in Palestine cannot be justified by terming it collateral damage,” he said.
Another human rights activist, Younas Shahzad, said the government of Pakistan should take up the issue at the UN General Assembly. “Pakistan should record its protest on the Gaza issue and ask friendly countries to make diplomatic efforts to halt the violence,” he said.
Another social activist, Tahir Iqbal, said the Muslim world must unite to combat Israeli aggression in Palestine. “The rulers of Muslim countries should play their role on the diplomatic front to support Palestinians and declare a truce in Gaza,” Iqbal said. A labour rights advocate, Abdul Qayyum, said the international community should boycott Israel and withdraw their ambassadors from Tel Aviv.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.