May 21st, 2021 

Special Report


LAHORE

Hundreds gathered at various points in the city to decry 11-day long Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The demonstrations where political parties, as well as civil society organizations, took part, were held to mark Friday as mark an official Black Day for Palestine.

Several protesters gathered in front of the Lahore Press Club near the Lahore US Consulate, to express their support for the struggle of Palestinians. Workers from political parties and other religious and political groups carrying Pakistani and Palestinian flags, and chanting slogans to pledge their unflinching support for Palestinian people, were fierce in condemning Israel for its attacks that caused heavy collateral damage and have taken the lives of scores of children and civilians.

However, instead of a combined demonstration, each party and organization chose to hold its own separate demonstration, hinting at the lack of unity in the protest.

Speakers called upon other citizens to come forward and extend their support to the just cause of the Palestinians. Their speeches were scattered with examples of how the Israelis had damaged Palestine and how much grief it had caused its people. The parties that took out rallies from in front of the Press Club included the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the most recently banned Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) however their protests were separate.

UTILISING THE PLATFORM

Meanwhile, speakers from the opposition parties took up the chance of a public platform and used the occasion to condemn ‘anti-people’ policies of the ruling PTI government as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Voicepk.net has covered these demonstrations live on its social media platforms and has spoken to people from all walks of life who had taken part in them.

In its demonstration, minority rights activist Samson Salamat who was leading the Rawadari Tehreek (RT), said that it was not essential to belong to a certain faith to raise a voice against the injustices in Occupied Palestinian Territory, adding that as humans it was imperative people from all faiths should condemn the Israeli atrocities in Gaza and West Bank.

“People from all faiths have gathered here to tell the world that wherever there is injustice, Pakistani people are united in its condemnation,” said Salamat.

 

FEMALE PRESENCE MISSED

The presence of women and children was comparatively small at the protest outside the Press Club.

“We should shun religious factionalism and unitedly condemn Israel as Muslims,” said a bespectacled young girl, adding that Pakistanis should boycott all products connected to Israel in any way to express support to Palestinian people. “Israel has done a great injustice by killing innocent children in Palestine,” said a visibly angry boy at the protest. “We support the children of Palestine and Israel should be given an exemplary punishment so that such killings are not repeated ever,” he cried.

“It’s time that all Muslims of the world unite as a single nation to protect fellow Muslims facing repression in Palestine, Kashmir and Bosnia,” a woman participating in the demonstration told Voicepk.net.

“We have come here with full zeal and vigour to back the Palestinian struggle of an independent homeland,” a young man holding a Palestinian flag said. “We are protesting here to warn those that attack our holy places that we will resist them,” he added.

Protesters regretted that Muslim countries were not doing enough to prevent the prosecution of Muslims in Palestine, Myanmar, Kashmir and other regions of the world. “All injustices against Muslims are being carried out at the behest of Israel and I’m amazed that the Saudi-led coalition of Muslim armies have not done anything to counter Israeli aggression,” said another protester.

A PROTEST AT LIBERTY FOR LIBERTY

At the same time, a huge number of people including civil society and human rights activists turned up at a separate demonstration at Liberty roundabout to demand that Palestinian people be allowed to be free. They carried placards and Palestinian flags.

NATIONWIDE PROTESTS

Asad Qaisar, the speaker of the National Assembly, led the Palestine Solidarity Day Rally along with Parliamentarians. In Rawalpindi, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addressed a similar rally to condemn the Israeli aggression.

In his tweet, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Friday said each and every Pakistani was standing by the people of Palestine, reiterating Pakistan’s fullest support to the just cause of Palestine.

“Every Pakistani is with you, we are all Palestine,” he said in a tweet while expressing solidarity with the innocent and oppressed people of Palestine. The whole nation, the minister said, was extending its unflinching support and expressing solidarity with Gaza and Palestine in a befitting manner, responding to the call of their Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Terming the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas a ‘success,’ Chaudhry Fawad said Pakistan would continue supporting the struggle of Palestinians until they get their rights.

In his tweet, Dr Moeed Yusuf, the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor, said there could be no lasting peace without an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds as its capital. He said Pakistan was standing in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle for freedom from occupation. “Our policy on Palestine is guided by the vision of Quaid-e-Azam,” he underscored.

Government ministers, political leaders, and citizens participated in protests in other major cities including Karachi, Peshawar, and Quetta as part of the Palestine Solidarity Day.

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