KARACHI: Pakistan’s southern Karachi port city witnessed a huge rally on Wednesday, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds in support of the residents of Gaza on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The United Nations General Assembly designated November 29 for this observance by adopting a resolution in 1977. This year’s Palestinian solidarity day comes at a time when more than 15,000 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and ground offensive in Gaza since October 7.
As millions around the world protested against Israel’s ongoing war in major cities, civil society groups and organizations in Karachi also initiated the call for Wednesday’s rally, which garnered support from businesspeople, journalists, artists, traders, and political leaders.
“We are here to express solidarity with Palestinians and condemn Israel for killing innocent people in Gaza,” Fahim Zaman, former administrator of Karachi and one of the rally’s organizers, told Arab News.
He demanded a total cease-fire, compensation for the dead and wounded Palestinians, reconstruction of Gaza and a trial for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the International Criminal Court.
Most rally participants carried placards with slogans like “Free Palestine,” “Cease-fire Now,” “Save Gaza,” and “End Palestinian Genocide.”
Veteran journalist and writer Ghazi Salahuddin said there was increased global awareness regarding the Palestine issue.
“Everyone knows about Gaza,” he said. “Everyone knows about the issues at stake.”
“I think this conflict has brought like-minded people worldwide together in a larger kind of movement,” he continued.
Eman Al Hajj, a Palestinian woman at the march, voiced the shared responsibility to support Palestine.
“It’s our duty toward our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Gaza to be part of this march and to raise our voices to stop the genocide and the war,” she said.
Laila, another participant who did not share her full name, stressed the importance of continuous protest.
“We should protest until Palestine is free,” she said. “We must fight for the freedom of all oppressed people around the world.”
Notable politicians, including Karachi’s mayor Murtaza Wahab, former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, Awami National Party’s Shahi Syed and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Kishwar Zehra, also participated in the rally.