– Religious leaders sit on the Israel, US and Indian flags placed by supporters of banned religious party Jamat-ud-Dawa during an anti Israeli and its allies rally in Lahore on Sunday, June 13, 2010.
LAHORE: Hafiz Saeed stood alongside several top leaders of the mainstream religious parties on Sunday as his Jamaatud Dawa held a march from Nasser Bagh to Charing Cross, on The Mall, to express solidarity with Palestinians and condemn Israeli atrocities.
Syed Munawar Hasan, the Amir of Jamaat-i-Islami, Senator Sajid Mir of Jamiat Ahl-i-Hadith, Hafiz Husain Ahmed of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Hameed Gul, a former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence, were also present.
The occasion was also used to oppose the expansion of army operations against militants and alleged attempts by some forces to divert public attention from the ‘real’ issues towards a parliament-judiciary row. Muslim rulers around the world were urged to unite in order to break the Israeli siege of Palestinians in Gaza.
It was the second public activity of Hafiz Saeed, accused by India of masterminding the Mumbai attacks, after being released from house arrest on court orders. He had taken part in a pro-farmers rally in Lahore last month.
The two appearances suggest that Hafiz Saeed is seeking to return to the centre-stage after having been kept on the margins of politics in the wake of the Nov 2008 attacks in Mumbai.
Participants of the march carried placards and banners inscribed with slogans against Israeli forces for the attack last month on the Freedom Flotilla taking aid to besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
A heavy contingent of police provided security cover to the gathering along with volunteers of the Dawa.
In his speech, Hafiz Saeed said Israeli aggression was not confined to Gaza. The Israeli secret service had also set up offices in occupied Kashmir, the Jamaatud Dawa chief said.
He said Pakistan was in danger and this was not the time to foment differences between parliament and the judiciary.
“Pakistan is under siege and attempts are being made with the connivance of Israel to convert it into a barren land by constructing dams on its rivers.”
He described suicide bombings as attempts at defaming jihad, alleging that the “bogey of Punjabi Taliban” had been invoked to justify an army operation in southern Punjab. But those operations could not continue for long, he warned.
Monday, 14 Jun, 2010