Religious parties organised rallies in all major towns and cities on Jumatul Wida, the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramazan, against Israel’s offensive in Gaza and expressed solidarity with the people of Palestine. Internationally, Jumatul Wida is observed as ‘al Quds Day’ to oppose Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem.
In Lahore, the Imamia Student Organisation (ISO) and Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) staged protest rallies on The Mall after Friday prayers. Participants carried flags and banners inscribed with quotations in favour of a free Palestinian state. They also chanted slogans against the USA and Israel.
Jamat-e-Islami (JI) observed the day as Youm-e-Azm (Day of Resolve) across the country in order to express solidarity with the Palestinians against Israeli aggression.
JI Amir Sirajul Haq, while addressing a rally on Multan Road, called upon the UN to declare Israel a terrorist state for carrying out carnage in Gaza. He also demanded the UN membership of ‘the Zionist State’ be cancelled for rejecting more than 70 UN resolutions for peace.
The JI chief called upon the OIC to convene a meeting of the Muslim states. He stressed that a joint army of the Muslim world be formed for the defence of Palestine.
Separately, Jaamatud Dawa Amir Hafiz Saeed addressed a protest rally where he called upon the Muslim community to break their silence and unite to save the innocent people of Gaza. “Jihad has become compulsory for every Muslim in the wake of the mounting death toll,” he said.
In Peshawar, the Tehreek-e-Azadi al Quds organised a rally at Qissa Khawani Bazaar with a large number of political workers and others in attendance. Another demonstration was organised by JI on GT Road and Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) arranged solidarity walks outside Jamia Masjid.
In the federal capital, the Shia Ulema Council (SUC) staged a demonstration at Aabpara Market to protest Israeli ‘barbarism’, which has claimed innocent civilians in Palestine and asked the Muslim world to wake up and stop the massacre. Participants were carrying banners and holding placards inscribed with anti-Israel slogans.
The protesters demanded a decisive action against the Jewish state.
Speaking on the occasion, JI’s Mian Muhammad Aslam said, “Hamas should not agree to any kind of peace agreement unless Israel agrees to ending the Gaza blockade,” he said.
However, the rally turned violent in Karachi. Three buses – two carrying male participants and one carrying female participants - were on their way to join the main rally when at least four gunmen on two motorcycles fired indiscriminately at the participants. The firing incident took place near Sharae Faisal, when participants were on their way to join the main rally on MA Jinnah Road. As a result, three female participants and two male ones were injured.
Protest rallies were also organised in other parts of Sindh. In Hyderabad, the Shia Ulema Council and the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) organised separate rallies, in which thousands of supporters took part. Meanwhile, the people of Sukkur and adjoining areas observed ‘Black Day’.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.