Outpouring of support: Pakistan mourns Gaza martyr deaths today

Published: July 25, 2014
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An abandoned shoe lies besides drying blood at a UN-run school, bombarded by Israeli forces. PHOTO: REUTERS

An abandoned shoe lies besides drying blood at a UN-run school, bombarded by Israeli forces. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: 

Driven by the groundswell of sympathy for the besieged Palestinians of Gaza, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday announced that the whole Pakistani nation would observe a day of mourning today (Friday) for the victims of Israeli aggression.

The announcement came after Gaza officials confirmed that the Palestinian death toll from incessant Israeli shelling had increased to 788 on the 17th day of the conflict.

“Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has announced July 25 (Friday) as a day of mourning to show solidarity with the innocent people of Gaza who have been subjected to terror and war crimes by the state of Israel,” an official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s House said. “The national flag will fly at half mast on July 25, 2014,” it added.

In addition, Prime Minister Nawaz also announced he will contribute $1 million to the UN for the victims of Israeli aggression in Gaza.

Islamabad appealed for an immediate ceasefire by Tel Aviv, while denouncing the Israeli offensive and the killing of innocent civilians in Gaza.

Talking to reporters at the Foreign Office on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry called for the early restoration of peace in Gaza so that the killing of innocent people could be stopped immediately. Reiterating that Pakistan had always backed the cause of Palestine, he said  Islamabad had presented a resolution in the UN against the 17-day Israeli assault on Gaza.

He added that Prime Minister Nawaz also gave a strong statement condemning the Israeli attack and expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of lives in Gaza.

UN-run school shelled, 15 dead

Gazan authorities said Israeli forces shelled a shelter at a UN-run school on Thursday, killing at least 15 people as the Palestinian death toll in the conflict rose to 788 and attempts at a truce remained elusive.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his horror at the attack on the school at Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. “Many have been killed – including women and children, as well as UN staff,” he said in a statement. “Circumstances are still unclear. I strongly condemn this act.”

Washington said it was “deeply saddened and concerned about the tragic incident”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will not stay in the Middle East indefinitely trying to broker a ceasefire to halt the Gaza conflict and will decide soon whether the parties are willing to come to an agreement, a senior US official said on Thursday. “Gaps remain between the parties, so his focus is on finding a formula that both sides can accept,” said the senior US official. “But he isn’t here for an indefinite amount of time and in the near future he will determine whether there is a willingness to come to an agreement on a ceasefire.”

The US diplomat is seeking to garner support for an Egyptian-drafted proposal and an aide said he had spoken to his counterparts in Doha and Ankara in the hope they would use their influence to encourage Hamas to accept the plan.

Hamas has rejected the proposal so far, with its exiled leader Khaled Meshaal saying late Wednesday that there could be no halt to the fighting without an end to Israel’s eight-year blockade on Gaza first.

The Egyptian plan calls for a ceasefire first and talks afterwards on a long-term solution to Gaza’s problems.

‘93 Palestinians killed’

There was no let-up to the violence in Gaza, however, with most of Thursday’s 93 victims killed in and around Khuzaa, a flashpoint area east of Khan Yunis which has been the site of intensive fighting since Tuesday.

But the biggest single strike was at the school in the north, where the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said it had been trying to coordinate with the army over the evacuation of civilians, without success.

Laila Al-Shinbari, a woman who was at the school when it was shelled, told Reuters that families had gathered in the courtyard expecting to be evacuated shortly in a Red Cross convoy. “All of us sat in one place when suddenly four shells landed on our heads … Bodies were on the ground, (there was) blood and screams. My son is dead and all my relatives are wounded including my other kids,” she wept.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, said that as well as the 15 dead, another 200 people had been wounded in the attack. The director of a local hospital said various medical centres around Beit Hanoun were receiving the wounded.

More than 140,000 Palestinians have fled 17 days of fighting between Israel and Gaza fighters.  

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.

 

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Someone
    Jul 25, 2014 - 3:06AM

    Why? Do the Arabs mourn when we lose thousands to terrorism? Do the Arabs show solidarity on Kashmir?

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  • JEJ
    Jul 25, 2014 - 5:13AM

    Where is Commando Musharraf? I thought he eagerly wanted to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Musharraf should lead the rally if he is still in town.

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  • tao
    Jul 25, 2014 - 8:30AM

    Protest against Israel aggression in Gaza?
    Why don’t you worry and protest what is going on in your own country. People being killed in sectarian violence every day. Christians, the Ahmadis and Pashtuns being killed and displaced in Pakistan. Where is the outrage?
    130 Pakistani doctors killed in one year. One year! Doctors leaving the Country in droves out of fear . Polio gaining traction among your children. Where is the outrage?
    Worry about your own country! Contribute to your own country! Diversion to Israel and Gaza doesn’t change the horrible things happening on a daily basis in Pakistan! Look in the mirror!!

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  • zero
    Jul 25, 2014 - 9:24AM

    for those commenting against the protest.

    Whatever is happening in Pakistan is bad but there is no comparison with what is happening at Gaza. Are there daily aerial bombardments in Karachi, Lahore? Are people like you living in fear that a bomb may fell over your house for no good reason and kill entire family?
    Grow up, and restrain from giving such il-logical comments.
    Protest is the least that Pakistan can do, atleast let it do that!

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  • Aslam
    Jul 25, 2014 - 11:16AM

    All the above comments are from Israel

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  • Stranger
    Jul 25, 2014 - 12:45PM

    Marne wale Sab shaheed nahi hote . Every man who dies does not become a martyr . Please stop glorifying death like this . This is the last thing I expected from ET .

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  • Ahmed Salman
    Jul 25, 2014 - 3:34PM

    @Someone: u support Israel. Shame on u. u don’t speak for Pakistanis.

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  • logic needed
    Jul 25, 2014 - 3:44PM

    @zero:
    “Whatever is happening in Pakistan is bad but there is no comparison with what is happening at Gaza. Are there daily aerial bombardments in Karachi, Lahore? ”
    Yes there are daily aerial bombings in Pakistan in NWFP for Zarb-eAzb. Also consider that more civilians are killed in Pakistan every month than current Gaza death toll. Close to 996 civilians are killed in pakistan in 2014. Add to this the fact that Hamas is not in denial about using Palestine civilians as human shield.

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  • tao
    Jul 25, 2014 - 7:29PM

    @zero

    If India started lobbing rockets into Pakistan tonight I can guarantee you that your military would retaliate strongly and not be worrying about civilian casualties.
    Sharif is sending the Palestinians one million dollars. You know that will go into the pockets of Hamas and the Palestinians in need won’t see a dime.
    BTW, I am from the US and have family in Pakistan. And have been devastated by losing an innocent family member to Sectarian violence in Karachi.

    Save Pakistan!

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  • Mohammed
    Jul 25, 2014 - 7:47PM

    I hate the zionists but All the Pakistani outrage is fake: why don’t we sort out your own country rather than protesting about things that we have no control over. Zionists are killing Muslims and that is bad but the TTP are killing Muslims and we don’t care but not only that but some of those people protesting support the TTP when they kill. Are you confused, well so am I.

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