ISLAMABAD: The head of a prominent Pakistani religious party, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Pakistan (JUI-F) met senior Hamas leaders in Qatar on Sunday to express solidarity with the people of Gaza, a statement from the party said.
JUI-F head Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman met Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal in Qatar, where the JUI-F chief had arrived on Saturday.
The meeting took place as Israeli warplanes continued to pound Gaza with airstrikes, killing over 9,770 people including 4,800 children since Oct. 7, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Sunday.
“The hands of the so-called developed nations are stained with the blood of innocent women and children,” Rehman was quoted as saying by the JUI-F.
“Palestinians are not only fighting for their land but on behalf of the Muslim Ummah, are fulfilling their duty by fighting for the freedom of the first Qibla,” he said, referring to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Rehman urged Muslim countries to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Palestine amid growing hostilities by the Israeli army.
Haniyeh said it was the Muslim Ummah’s duty to unite against Israeli atrocities, according to the JUI-F.
“Countries who claim to advocate for human rights are arriving at Tel Aviv with ships full of weapons,” Haniyeh was quoted as saying by the JUI-F. He praised Rehman for raising his voice for Gaza, saying that the JUI-F leader was playing the role of Palestine’s ambassador in Pakistan.
Mashal said that injustices in Palestine and Kashmir were a “slap” on the faces of countries who condemned others for human rights violations.
The soaring death toll in Gaza has sparked growing international anger, with tens of thousands from Washington to Berlin taking to the streets to demand an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East.
Israel has rejected the idea of halting its offensive, even for brief humanitarian pauses proposed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his current tour of the region. Instead, it said that the besieged enclave’s Hamas rulers were “encountering the full force” of its troops.
“Anyone in Gaza City is risking their life,” Israel’s Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said.
Swaths of residential neighborhoods in northern Gaza have been leveled in airstrikes. UN monitors say more than half of northern Gaza’s remaining residents, estimated at around 300,000, are sheltering in UN-run facilities.
But deadly Israeli strikes have also repeatedly hit and damaged those shelters. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has said it has lost contact with many in the north.