SUKKUR/ HYDERABAD/ KARACHI:
The plight of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza drew hundreds of men, women and children to the MA Jinnah Road - one of the busiest thoroughfares of the city - on Friday.
As the Israel's increasingly bloody offensive in Gaza entered its 18th day, leaders and supporters of major political parties stood shoulder-to-shoulder to express solidarity with the Palestinians on the occasion of the "International Quds Day."
A senior Hamas activist, Dr Khalid Mehmood, in his telephonic address, said that Palestinians salute the moral support of their Pakistani brethren in these tough times. "The silence of the United Nations and the Western world on the atrocities perpetrated by the Israeli military on the besieged Palestinians has revealed their real face," he said. He also took exception to the silence of the Arab leaders.
Jamaat-e-Islami Sindh president Dr Merajul Huda Siddiqui said in his speech that Israel perpetrates unprecedented human rights infringements and violations of United Nations' resolutions.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf's central executive member Shameem Firdous Naqvi, Pakistan Peoples Party Sindh secretary general, Taj Haider, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sindh leader Saleem Zia also addressed the participants.
Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen leader Allama Ameen Shaheedi, ISO president Athar Imran and leaders of other religious organisations addressed the participants during the rally. The speakers said that 'it is a historical rally as a large number of people have attended it to condemn Israel's aggression in Gaza'. District East police chief DIG Munir Shaikh said that around 2,500 policemen were deployed for the security duties to guard the Al-Quds rally and added that snipers were also deployed on rooftops of nearby buildings. Traffic policemen were also deployed to perform special duties to avoid inconvenience to road users and divert traffic to alternate routes. Nearby hotels and guest houses were also specially checked for security purposes.
The Shia Ulema Council and the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen organised separate protest rallies on Friday to mark Yaum-e-Quds. Thousands of supporters took part in the rallies.
The council's provincial leader, Syed Kazim Shah Jahahnia, addressed the protesters and condemned 'the genocide of Palestinians by the Israelis'.
He questioned the silence of the Organisation of Islamic Countries, Arab League and the United Nations, arguing that their lack of response amounts to a tacit approval of the carnage of the Palestinians. The protesters asked the United Nations to punish Israel for war crimes and impose financial and military sanctions against the country.
To express solidarity with Palestinians, the people of Sukkur and adjoining areas also observed a 'Black Day' on the last Friday of Ramazan to condemn the actions of Israel in Gaza.
People of Sukkur, Khairpur, Shikarpur, Kashmore, Jaccobabad, Ghotki and other areas organised rallies to express their anger and disapproval at the atrocities being committed by Israel.
Speakers at the rallies said that it is the duty of Pakistan to highlight the issue and added that the day is not far when Quds will be free and Israel will disintegrate.
Security across the region was beefed up to avoid any untoward incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.
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