Pakistan Protests and Demonstrations
April 18, 2003 In Karachi, the Jafria Alliance and Imamia Students Organization organised a rally against the US occupation of Iraq and demanded an immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from that country. The demonstration, called "Liberation of sacred land of Iraq rally" was addressed by several leaders of the two organizations. The speakers expressed full support to the Islamic movements, including the Jihad-i-Islami. Mirza Yusuf Hussain, addressing the rally, said that it was time for the Ummah to forge unity in its ranks and strike jointly at the infidels under the leadership of Ali Khamenai in Iran. Separately, Hafiz Muhammad Taqi said that no Muslim would hesitate in laying down his life for the protection of Islamic holy places.
Separately in Karachi, prayer leaders condemned the US-UK forces' invasion of Iraq and asked the Islamic world to unite. "All Muslims should unite to ensure that imperialist forces do not attack any other Muslim country," Abdur Razzaq Iskander, chief prayer leader of the Binoria mosque of the Deobandi school of thought, said in his Friday sermon. He also condemned the Pakistani government for supporting the US forces. Allama Azam Mustafai of Memon Masjid appealed for a boycott of American products and said the Pakistani government should lobby for withdrawal of Anglo-American occupation forces from Iraq.
April 16, 2003 The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) organised a large protest demonstration in Jacobabad against the US occupation of Iraq. The protesters carrying placards and banners demanded of the US to vacate Iraq and leave alone its oil resources.
In Lahore, the Difa-i-Islam Mahaz, a 15-party Sunni alliance, held a rally to protest against the Anglo-American occupation of Baghdad. Hundreds of activists, mostly students of religious seminaries, chanted slogans against the US and UK. Speaking at the rally, MMA President Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani said the best Jehad was "to dry up the fountains of evil in the corridors of power." He also said that Muslim rulers were hypocrites, isolated from their nations.
April 14, 2003: According to a report in the Nation, approximately 30,000 people participated in a rally in the southern Pakistani city of Hyderabad, Sindh, to condemn the US-led invasion of Iraq and express solidarity with the Iraqis. The rally was convened by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). MMA leaders Allama Shah Ahmad Noorani, Qazi Husain Ahmed, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Allama Sajid Naqvi, Hafiz Husain Ahmad and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri addressed the rally. Allama Noorani claimed that the 'rulers' had handed over Arab Mujahideen to the US and have obtained a large amount of money from them. He declared that Jehad against Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee, President Bush and traitors of Pakistan would continue. Maulana Fazlur Rehman opined that, by conquering Iraq, the US had actually started a war against itself.
April 13, 2003: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed led a rally of approximately 4,000 children in Karachi protesting the US war on Iraq. "This enthusiastic participation of so many children proves that Pakistani children feel for Iraqi Muslims," Ahmed said in his address. "These children are openly declaring that they are not coward like our rulers who are shy of condemning America. Our children are conscious and ready to help their Iraqi brothers and sisters," Qazi said.
The Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) staged a protest demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club against the US 'occupation' of Iraq. PAT spokesperson G M Malik said the Ummah was facing a devilish situation because of disunity among its ranks.
In Karachi, the MMA held a protest demonstration against the US aggression in Iraq. Maulana Asadullah Bhutto and Maulana Umer Sadiq led the protesters. A large number of activists belonging to various religious parties and trade associations also participated in the protest.
April 11, 2003: The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) organised a public rally at Banaras Chowk in Karachi against the occupation of Iraq by the allied forces. The MMA Vice President and chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, said that, "If we failed to restrict the US forces to Afghanistan and Iraq, the next target may be our country." He advised President Pervez Musharraf to alienate Pakistan from the "US, its allies and their terrorists" and added that the government should get all the US bases in Pakistan vacated.
The MMA also observed 'Prayer Day' throughout the country for the safety of Iraqi people and also for those who were ‘martyred’ in the US-led bombardment.
Several rallies were reportedly taken out in various cities, including Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Nawabshah, on the call of the MMA to protest against the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Meanwhile, journalists in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) staged a rally in Muzaffarabad to condemn the killings of press personnel during bombing by the US troops in Iraq. The rally was organized by "Press for Peace" - an organization of the working journalists.
In Multan, more than 1000 activists of Anjuman-e-Tahafuuz Azadari (ATA) held a protest rally to condemn the US led attack and sacrilege of holy shrines in Iraq. Punjab Peace Committee member Shafqat Hussein Bhutta said, "We are protesting against the sacrilege of holy shrines, religious places and the bombing on residential areas by the allied forces in Iraq." ATA’s senior vice president Syed Sadar-uddin Shah Gilani said, "Karbala is an important and holy place where Imam Hussein and his family laid down their lives for the cause of Islam and the Shiites of the world will react sharply to this."
At Islamabad, the Markazi Anjuman Asna Ashri, Anjuman Jaan Nisaran Ahl-i-Bait, Anjuman-i-Zulfikar Haidari and several other organizations held a rally to condemn the US war on Iraq. President of Anjuman Jaan Nisaran Ahl-i-Bait, Syed Tatheer Alam Rizvi, said, "Holy shrines in Iraq are places of peace and worship. They are very sacred to the hearts and souls of the Muslims all over the world."
April 9, 2003: Religious scholars under the aegis of Tehreek-e-Awam Ahl-e-Sunnat Pakistan (TAASP) marched on different main roads of the Karachi city to protest against the US war in Iraq. TAASP leaders, including Haji Muhammad Hanif Blue, Allama Riazuddin Qadri and others addressed the protesters. Separately, the Sunni Tehreek held a protest demonstration against the US aggression in Iraq in Liaquatabad Town.
Journalists all over Pakistan staged protest demonstrations to condemn the killing of press personnel and civilians in the US-led attack on Iraq. They termed the killings as a violation of international law, which protected press personnel discharging their duties in times of war. In Karachi, journalists marched to the US Consulate on Abdullah Haroon Road from the Karachi Press Club. In Islamabad, approximately 150 local journalists, as well as Arab newsmen, staged a demonstration in front of the United Nations building. In Peshawar, the Khyber Union of Journalists also staged a protest demonstration in front of the Peshawar Press Club. They criticized the US President George Bush and British Premier Tony Blair for generating what they termed was war hysteria. Meanwhile, President of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) Mujibur Rahman Shami and general-secretary Mahmudul Aziz have in a statement condemned the killing of journalists in Iraq by the US-led forces.
The Rawalpindi Bar Association reportedly boycotted court proceedings to express solidarity with the people of Iraq. In Lahore, lawyers observed a partial strike in response to the Punjab Bar Council's call for boycotting courts.
Separately, a large number of students belonging to various educational institutions of Quetta took out a joint protest rally to condemn the US-led attack on Iraq and the killings of civilians there. The rally was organised by the Pashtoon Students Organisation - student's wing of the Pashtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party.
April 8, 2003: Reports from Karachi have indicated that the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has supported the recent fatwa (religious decree) issued by the Sheikh of Egypt's Al-Azhar University, which stated that suicide attacks against US-led forces in Iraq was in accordance with Islam. Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, Sheikh of Al-Azhar University and the highest authority on religious affairs for Sunni Muslims, had declared on April 5 that suicide attacks on US-led 'invaders' of Iraq were 'permitted under (Islamic) religious law'. Reports added that Sindh MMA President Maulana Asadullah Bhutto has supported the fatwa along with Tehrik-e-Islami, a Shiite component of the MMA.
A complete strike was reportedly observed in Quetta and other parts of Baluchistan and a large anti-war rally was staged to condemn the US-led war on Iraq. All business and shopping centres remained closed throughout the day. Separately, in Rawalpindi, traders held rallies in different areas of the city to condemn the US-led attack on Iraq. The traders' unions organized the protest rallies. Leaders of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) reportedly led one of the protest rallies, staged outside an American fast-food outlet.
The business community in Peshawar observed a complete strike to express solidarity with the Iraqis. Processions were taken out from different localities under the auspices of some 25 traders' organizations. Halim Jan of Tajir Ittehad said during a rally that the US war on Iraq was illegal, as it had been launched without the approval of the United Nations. He opined that the Pakistani government should offer help to the Iraqi government against the aggressors. MMA leader Shabbir Ahmad Khan said that the US wanted to grab the petroleum resources of Iraq. The MMA, he added, would continue to condemn the US and its allies and extend moral support to the Iraq. Separately, in Kohat, a partial strike was observed by the business community to express solidarity with the people of Iraq.
Traders in many cities of the Punjab province observed a strike on the call given by the Pakistan Traders Alliance to protest against the US war on Iraq. A complete strike was also observed in Bahawalpur and Faisalabad.
April 7, 2003: Anti-war rallies and protest gatherings were organised by the All Pakistan Trade Union Organisation (APTUO) in Sukkur, Ghotki, Kandhkot and other towns of interior Sindh. The largest of the rallies was taken out in Sukkur, led by APTUO President Maula Bakhsh Khaskheli. Protest leaders criticised the governments of Muslim countries for not extending support to the Iraqis.
Protesting the US-UK war against Iraq, the Sindh National Front took out a procession in Larkana. Separately, a protest meeting was held at Bandhi, Nawabshah, against the US-led invasion of Iraq.
April 6, 2003: Several demonstrations and rallies were held in Karachi, denouncing the US-led war on Iraq. Shia groups took out a rally participated by more than 1,000 protesters, including women and children. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) also staged a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club. They denounced the US-led attacks in Iraq and urged President George Bush to avoid killing innocent Iraqis. Separately, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the Jamaat Ahl-e-Hadith and the Tehrik-e-Inqilab Islami also held demonstrations in the same area. Anti-war rallies and protests were also reported in various parts and suburbs of Karachi.
The Jamat-e-Ahlesunnat (JeA) held a march in Hyderabad to denounce the US-led war in Iraq. JeA leaders said that the war in Iraq should be stopped immediately and US President George Bush and British Premier Tony Blair should be convicted for waging a war on Iraq without any just reasons. Separately in Hyderabad, activists of the Labour Party Pakistan held a demonstration outside the Press Club to condemn the US-UK attack on Iraq.
In Rawalpindi, activists of the Anjuman Janesaraan-i- Ahl-i-Bait took out a rally against the US attack on Iraq.
April 4, 2003: The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) organised a large protest rally in Multan to denounce the US war on Iraq. The protesters demanded of the Federal government to terminate US airbases form Jacobabad and Dalbandin and suspend all kind of logistical support for coalition soldiers to show solidarity with the Iraqis. The MMA central leadership also delivered special Friday sermons at their respective mosques. The speakers included Allama Shah Ahmad Noorani, Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, Maulana Samiul Haq, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Sajid Mir, Allama Sajid Naqvi, and Syed Ataul Moheman Shah Bokhari.
The leader of proscribed Sunni group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Maulana Azam Tariq, led a rally of 400 protesters in the North Karachi area, as the religious parties observed another protest day. In his speech Maulana Tariq, who is a Member of the National Assembly (MNA), called for a boycott of American products. Abdur Razzaq Iskander, priest at the Binoria Mosque, while calling for a Jehad against the US and its "infidel" allies asked Pakistanis to stop using products manufactured by the countries involved in the war on Iraq. He also said that Muslims were the main target for "the worst kind of atrocities occurring on earth in recent times." At Memon Masjid, Allama Raza-ul-Mustafai said the US and its allies had attacked Muslim countries twice since the first Gulf war. He also called on Muslims to unite and launch a joint struggle against ‘enemies’.
The MMA held a rally to condemn the US-led war in Iraq at Kasur. Addressing the rally, MMA leaders while condemning the US-led war in Iraq, demanded the Pakistani government to wage a holy war against America.
Traders, students and social workers of Muzaffargarh held a demonstration to protest against the US-led war on Iraq.
Separately, Pasban-e-Sahaba (PeS), reportedly the new name for the proscribed Sunni group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, staged an anti-war rally in Peshawar and demanded a complete boycott of US and British goods.
In Rawalpindi, the MMA staged a demonstration to condemn the US-led invasion of Iraq. MMA leaders, including deputy secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami Fareed Ahmad Paracha, delivered speeches at the rally. Paracha said, "If the United States was not stopped now, tomorrow other Muslim countries would also meet the same fate." Meanwhile, the Islamabad chapter of MMA held a demonstration to condemn the US-led aggression against Iraq and express solidarity with the Iraqis.
Responding to a call given by the MMA, protest rallies were staged in different parts of Sindh to condemn the ongoing US-UK war on Iraq. Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Mohammed Ibrahim Qadri of the Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan and other MMA leaders demanded that bombardment on Iraq should be immediately terminated to ensure that no more citizens are killed. They also called for trying President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair at the International Court of Justice for war crimes.
Further, a large anti-war rally was reportedly staged at the Market Chowk in Hyderabad. Speaking on the occasion, local MMA leader Sahibzada Abul Khair Mohammad Zubair appealed to the citizenry to boycott American and British consumer goods.
April 3, 2003: A rally called 'Down With The US' was organised in Hyderabad by the Jamaat-Ulema-e-Islam- Fazlur Rehman group (JuI-F) against the on going US war on Iraq. Leaders of various parties including Mir Haider Talpur of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Maulana Ahsanullah Hazarvi of the JUI, Nizam Haidri of the Tehreek-e-Islami Pakistan, Sheikh Shaukat Ali and Abdul Waheed Qureshi of Jamaat-e-Islami and Nazir Sheikh of the Awami Tehreek led the rally and addressed its participants They said that the MMA leadership fully understood the importance of the Jihad and added that they would fulfil that promise.
The Islami Jamiat Talaba hosted an Iraq Conference at the Arts Lobby of Karachi University, where politicians, academicians and students spoke on the current war on Iraq. Munawwar Hassan of the Jamaat-e-Islami pointed out that the US would be engulfed by the conflagration it ignited in the oil-rich region. He said the US forces had apparently lost to the tactics of the Iraqi army and people. Mairaj Muhammad Khan, leader of Tehreek-i-Insaf, said that The US propaganda machines are engaged in gagging the truth at the moment, but even then the pictures of war are not rosy for the allied forces."
In Rawalpindi, a large number of supporters of the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Pakistan (JASP) began a long march in protest against the US-led invasion of Iraq. The 4-day march started from Fawara Chowk and would terminate at Karachi on April 7. Central Secretary General of the JASP, Allama Riaz Hussain Shah, said USA had lost all senses in its design to dominate the whole world.
In Peshawar, the local Ulema (scholars) and tribal leaders reiterated calls for waging a Jehad against the US-led forces in Iraq. Speaking at a rally, Maulana Shamsur Rehman of the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat said, "Now it is time that all Muslims should start jihad against America."
Several small protest rallies were held in other cities including Karachi, Lahore and Multan.
April 2, 2003: At a rally organised by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in Quetta, speakers urged the Muslim world and other anti-war countries to get united and fight the United States with full force. MMA leaders said Jehad was the only way as adopting resolutions would not force President Bush to terminate the war on Iraq. Speaking at the rally, MMA chief Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani described the US aggression against Iraq as a crusade and said Jehad had become obligatory for all Muslims. MMA Secretary-General Maulana Fazlur Rehman demanded that the UN secretary-general should resign as he had failed to implement the resolutions adopted by the world body to save Iraq from US aggression.
In Gilgit, the Gilgit-Baltistan Muttahida Talaba Mahaz (GBMTM), a coalition of nine student bodies, took out a protest procession at the Karakoram University against the US-led war on Iraq. Speakers at the rally said the war was being fought to control the oil deposits of Iraq and it had nothing to do with freedom of Iraqis.
The Jamat Ahl-e-Sunnat, Larkana chapter, held an anti-US demonstration, and the Anjuma Tajiran observed a strike in Larkana.
Separately, President of the All Pakistan Organisation of Small Traders and Cottage Industry, Sindh, Mashooq Jatoi, announced that there would be a strike throughout Pakistan on April 8, to express solidarity with Iraqis, and to condemn the US-led war on Iraq.
April 1, 2003: In Lahore, all the Ahle Sunnat organisations declared that Jehad against America has become an obligation for Muslims. This Fatwa (religious edict) was announced at a meeting of the Dafae Islam Mohaz at Jamea Naeemia. The meeting was attended by religious leaders of Ahle Sunnat and presided by Mufti Abdul Qayyunm Hazarvi. Participants of the meeting termed the US attack on Iraq as naked aggression and said it is an obligation on all Muslims to fight against America.
A rally against the war on Iraq was organised in Khairpur by Deputy Speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Raheela Tiwana. Among others, students of various schools, teachers and some officers attended it. Addressing the rally, Raheela and others pointed out that US President George W. Bush was violating human rights and targeting innocent citizens of Iraq.
At Islamabad, the lawyers' community organised a protest rally to condemn the US-led war on Iraq, and demanded its immediate end.
Approximately 3,000 persons took part at a protest rally called by the Awami National Party in Peshawar. Reportedly, speakers chanted anti-US slogans and urged France, China, Russia and Germany to take effective measures to stop the war in Iraq.
People in the Kohistan district took out a protest rally at district headquarter Dasu against the US-led aggression in Iraq. Local leaders of Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) reportedly led the protestors.
March 31, 2003: The All Pakistan Traders' Association announced a boycott of American and British products in protest against the war on Iraq. "It has been unanimously decided to boycott American and British products and traders would neither buy nor sell any product till further decision," chairman of the association Khawaja Mohammad Shafiq, told reporters after a convention, in Bahawalpur, Punjab. Reportedly, the decision was the first by a major traders body in Pakistan.
Various political parties and social organisation of Larkana, Sindh Province, organised anti-America rallies and condemned the US-led war on Iraq.
In Rawalpindi, the Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) called upon the people to boycott products of American and British companies. Local MMA leaders while appreciating the decision taken by the trader's community in Lahore and some other cities urged traders in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to announce a similar boycott. "As Muslims, it is incumbent on us to boycott the US and UK goods due to their anti-Muslim policies and conspiracies against the Ummat," said MMA spokesperson Malik Mohammad Azam.
Journalists and activists of political and religious parties took out a procession in Faisalabad to express their solidarity with the Iraqis and to condemn the invasion of Iraq by US-led forces.
March 30, 2003: At a huge rally organized by the six-party Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Pakistan, in Peshawar, various speakers asked the international community to expel the US from the United Nations for violating its Charter and try US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba, said at the rally that in the wake of continued US attacks on Iraq, the MMA leadership in NWFP should formally announce a holy war against the infidels. The protestors carried placards inscribed with slogans calling for the expulsion of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents from Pakistan and a halt to the war in Iraq. They also chanted slogans in favour of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar. Speaking at the rally, central leader of the MMA Qazi Hussain Ahmad said after Afghanistan and Palestine, the Bush regime had opened another front against the Muslim world by attacking Iraq. "I salute the Iraqi soldier who killed five US Marines in a suicide attack," leader said Ahmad, adding that Jehad was the only solution to halt the US aggression. In his speech, general secretary of the MMA, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, opined that for the first time in history, USA had become isolated.
Protest demonstrations were reported from the entire Sindh province. Speaking at one of the rallies, Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Mir Haider Talpur and others said the US was insisting prisoners of war should be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions but it had forgotten those norms in case of prisoners held in Guantanamo naval station.
In Mirpurkhas, hundreds of people, under the banner of the Jafria Students' Organization, took out a protest procession against the war on Iraq by the coalition forces. Separately, a large procession was taken out in Daharki, Sukkur, under the banner of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
Further, a meeting of writers, politicians, lawyers and businessmen was held in Karachi. Speaking at the meeting, Syed Zia Abbas, chairman Pakistan-China Solidarity Front, said "The US-led unilateral attack on Iraq is totally against international law. It will be a long war." The Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JuP) held a protest demonstration in Karachi against the US-led attack on Iraq. JuP leader Mufti Abdul Haleem Qadri said that non-Muslims were protesting against the aggression of the US and UK side-by-side with the Muslims which should be a matter of concern for George Bush and Tony Blair.
March 28, 2003: Ulema (preachers) at Friday prayers urged people to prepare for Jehad to defend Iraq against US-led attacks even as anti-war protests continued across Pakistan. "We should revive the spirit of Jihad to defend Iraqi Muslims against US aggression," the prayer leader of Islamabad's main mosque, Muhammad Abdul Aziz, told a gathering of about 2,000 worshippers. "Muslims do not rely on material and human resources, they always fight against their numerically superior enemy… It gives a peculiar taste and spiritual joy when you chant Allah-o-Akbar as enemy jets rain bombs during the war," he said.
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) observed a black day in Lahore to protest against the US invasion of Iraq. The six-party Islamist fundamentalist alliance staged a rally from the Jamaat-e-Islami's headquarters in Mansoora after the Friday prayers, shouting anti-US slogans. Speaking at the rally, MMA leaders said thousands of innocent Iraqis, including women and children, had been killed in bombardment by the US-British forces on residential districts, hospitals and schools. They said the US wanted to subjugate the entire Muslim world and also wanted to dismember other Gulf countries to weaken the Islamic states.
Various politicians and human rights activists held a joint protest demonstration in Islamabad to condemn the US-led war on Iraq and express solidarity with the Iraqi people. The rally was organized by the Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights, Parliamentarians Doctors Forum, Ansar Burney Trust and Shelter, in front of the Parliament House.
Protest demonstrations were staged in Quetta and other parts of Baluchistan. Protestors condemned the US attack on Iraq, demanding of American government to stop the war immediately. In Quetta, representatives of more than 200 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) belonging to the Baluchistan NGOs Federation, in collaboration with Aurat Foundation, staged a large protest demonstration. Meanwhile, office bearers of the MMA’s Baluchistan unit also staged a protest demonstration in front of the Quetta Press Club after Friday prayers and condemned the US attack and bombardment in Iraq. Addressing the demonstrators, Maulvi Noor Muhammad, MMA leader, said the US forces would have to face same consequences in Iraq, which former USSR had experienced in Afghanistan.
In Sukkur, the Imamia Students Organisation and MMA took out rallies at different places against the US attack on Iraq after Friday prayers.
In Rawalpindi, approximately 10,000 supporters of the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) party protested on the streets.
In Lahore, MMA leader Aslam Saleemi told a gathering of some 1,000 people that "Pakistan should send weapons and troops to defend Iraq."
At Hyderabad, an anti-war rally was brought out after the Friday prayers. The protest, titled 'Defence of Karbala Procession,' was organized by the Islami Tehrik Pakistan. Allama Altaf Al-Hussaini, Shaikh Shaukat Ali of Jamaat-i-Islami, Kazim Shah Naqvi, Nizamul Haidri and others addressed the rally.
March 27, 2003: Senators from both the treasury and opposition benches spoke against what they called an unjust war on Iraq as the Upper House began a debate over the issue marked by protests that the Pakistani government should take a strong position to support Iraq.
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal staged a protest demonstration against the US-led invasion at Karachi Press Club. The protestors, primarily from religious schools, held placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the US and chanted slogans calling for an end to the war against Iraq and declaring the US an international terrorist. Jamiat Ittehad-i-Ulema president Maulana Abdul Rauf, Qari Zameer Akhtar Mansoori, Maulana Ataur Rahman and Jamiat Talaba-i-Arabia Nazim Saifullah Ismail described the United States president, George W. Bush, and the British prime minister, Tony Blair as "war criminals" and demanded of the United Nation to try them for crimes against humanity.
The office-bearers of the Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) took out a protest rally in Quetta and condemned the allied forces' attack on Iraq, demanding of the US government to withdraw the troops from that country.
Scholars and political leaders at a conference in Karachi condemned the use of force against Iraq, called for end to the war and withdrawal of allied forces from Iraq. The conference was held under the auspicious of the Pakistan Peace Coalition. In a joint declaration, the participants demanded immediate withdrawal of the US-led coalition forces from Iraq and asked Pakistan and India to work for de-escalation of tensions and for disarmament to avoid nuclear conflict.
In Rawalpindi, three demonstrations were held in different parts of the city to condemn the US attack on Iraq. Shabab-i-Milli activists staged a demonstration at Committee Chowk against what they termed was a blatant aggression of US against Iraq.
Central Chief of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), Naveed Anwar, while condemning the US-led invasion of Iraq, asked the government to condemn the attack, as it was not only an aggression against Iraq, but the entire Ummah. Addressing a large rally organized by the IJT at the University of Peshawar he claimed that President Musharraf was blindly following US's Iraq policy.
March 26, 2003: Opposition parties in the Senate said that they would seek passing a resolution against the US-led war on Iraq when the Upper House meets for a special session on March 27, 2003, today. A spokesmen for the opposition parties said the combined opposition would seek cooperation from the treasury benches for adopting a joint resolution.
The Aurat Publication and Information Service Foundation (APISF), under its Citizens Network, launched a protest campaign against the war on Iraq with simultaneous demonstrations in all the 26 districts of Baluchistan.
In Karachi, various political parties staged rallies in different parts of the city and called for producing US and Britain in the International Court of Justice as war criminals. They demanded of Pakistan and other countries to exert pressure on the US-led forces through the UN to stop the war. The protesters criticised the 'war-crazy' Bush Administration for ignoring the UN Charter and it principles.
The Jamiat Talaba-i-Islam (JTI) organized a peace rally in Peshawar to condemn the US-led aggression against Iraq. Addressing the rally, speakers asked the Pakistani Government to call an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Countries. They also asked the Government to condemn the US aggression in clear terms and to resign from the UN Security Council as the council had failed to stop the US-led attack on Iraq.
Various organizations organized peace rallies in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to express solidarity with the people of Iraq. Around 300 people from the Christian community participated in a rally led by former Federal Minister and convenor of Peace Education Foundation, J. Salik.
Separately, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal announced that it would hold its fourth million-man march in Peshawar on March 30 to condemn the US aggression against Iraq and to show solidarity with the Iraqis.
March 25, 2003: Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Secretary General of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and chief of his own faction of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam, has described US-led forces' invasion of Iraq as 'international terrorism'. Speaking in Karachi, he said that imposing war on a sovereign nation could only be regarded as international terrorism. He appealed to the American people to stand up to oppose the 'satanic designs and fanaticism' of President Bush or else, he added, "the history will equally hold them responsible for the heavy loss of life and massive destruction in Iraq."
The Pakistan chapter of Hizbut Tahrir, at an anti-war demonstration held in front of the Peshawar Press Club, condemned the government policy on Iraq and asked it to send Pakistani troops for the defence of the Iraqis. Hizb's local leaders, Zulfiqar Ahmed and Mehboob Shah criticized the indifferent attitude of the government towards the plight of Iraqi people and termed it anti-Islamic and inhuman. They said it was the religious duty of Pakistan armed forces to fight against the US imperialism, which wanted to capture mineral resources of Muslim countries.
Meanwhile, a large number of Christians demonstrated in Sheikhupura against the ongoing US bombardment on Iraq. Expressing concern over the killing of innocent people, they asked the US President George Bush to quit his office. They also urged the world to boycott American products and end diplomatic relations with the country.
In Karachi, a large number of women and children staged protest demonstrations outside the press club against the US-led forces' invasion of Iraq and heavy bombardment on civilian targets. The Imamia Students Organization and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal organized these rallies.
Activists of Pashtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) held a demonstration in Quetta against the US-led coalition forces' attack on Iraq. The procession, led by central secretary general of PkMAP Syed Akram Shah, Senator Nawab Ayaz Khan Jogezai, opposition leader of PkMAP in Balochistan Assembly Abdul Rahim Zairatwal and others, marched through various roads of the city.
March 24, 2003: Ulema (priests) belonging to the Jamia Uloom-i-Islamia Binnori Town, Karachi, and Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwat said that Jehad against the US had become an obligation for Muslims the world over. In a statement, they said the Ummah (Muslim community) is unanimous on Jehad against the US and its allies, as this war is against Muslims.
Journalists in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan occupied Kashmir, organized a march against the US attack on Iraq and expressed solidarity with Iraqis. The march, organized by the 'Press for Peace' (PFP)––a non-governmental organization, started from Domel and concluded at the office of the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). "We are here to protest against the war and support the cause of peace," PFP coordinator Khwaja Zafar Iqbal said in a petition submitted to the UMOGIP.
A large protest demonstration was held outside the press club in Karachi against the US attack on Iraq. The demonstration was held under the auspices of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Pakistan and was addressed by MMA legislators Abdul Sattar Afghani and Muhammad Hussain Mahenti. Afghani and Mahenti criticised the US for "acting like a blind elephant and trying to ravage every opponent country." They also said, "Bush and Blair are international criminals."
A complete strike was observed in Larkana on the call of various religious parties against the US-led war in Iraq. Reportedly, all shopping centres remained closed and traffic was very thin. Several processions were taken out to record people’s resentment against the war. The largest rally in Larkana was organised by the Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat and Sunni Tehrik.
Reports from Khairpur said people took out a protest rally against the US attack on Iraq. Protesters burnt effigies of US President George Bush at Punj Ghulla Chowk.
Meanwhile, local MMA leaders in Sheikhupura criticised the bombardment by the US and its allies on innocent Iraqis. MMA leaders Shaikh Jamil Ahmad, Nazir Ahmad Virk and Mohammed Ramzan said the President Bush was killing Iraqis merely to seize oil resources.
A public meeting was held in Mingora under the aegis of the Jamiat Ishaat-i-Tauhid wa Sunnat, which was addressed by Maulana Fazal Haq, Maulana Abdullah, Maulana Sultan ul Haqa, Maulana Habib Ahmad, Maulana Azizullah.
Also, a huge protest procession in support of Iraq was taken out at Charsadda, which converged into a public rally at the main Farooq-e-Azam square of Tehsil Bazaar. The rally was organised by Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rahman faction). Addressing the rally, Maulana Gauhar Shah and Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq alleged that the American President is a ‘terrorist number one’ in the world, and called upon the Muslim world to forge unity against the ‘evil empire’.
March 23, 2003: Demonstrating against the US-led war on Iraq in Lahore, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) led rally appealed to the people to boycott US products and throw out military rulers who have been playing as their agents and collaborating with them to annihilate Muslims. They also said that Jehad had become obligatory on the entire Ummah, as enemies had attacked a Muslim country, and it (Jehad) was the only way to combat US military might and technology, because the invaders had, in fact, planned to conquer all Muslim countries and their resources. Jamaat-e-Islami chief and MMA Vice-President Qazi Hussain Ahmad said the attack by the US-led forces on Iraq should be considered as an aggression against the whole Ummah. Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that, at a time when the entire world was rising against the US, Pakistani rulers were cowing down. MMA President Maulana Noorani said all those forces and countries supporting the US and its allies were Munafiq (hypocrites). Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) chief Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan said US President George Bush was not following the teachings of peace by Christ. MMA Vice-President Maulana Samiul Haq said the US had targeted a sacred land and "If we did not play our role on Iraq issue, the history will never forgive us." Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed urged the entire Ummah to declare Jehad on the US which, he alleged, is working on a plan to conquer and annex all Muslim countries within the next five years. He also said Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia would be the next targets.
Separately, the MMA also took out a protest rally in Jacobabad at which leaders said the US plans to attack Iran, Syria and Turkey after the Iraq war. The MMA leaders demanded the total withdrawal of US troops from Jacobabad and other military bases in Pakistan. Meanwhile, anti-American demonstrations continued in Larkana, Sindh, on the second consecutive day. In Karachi, the capital of Sindh, demonstrations against the US continued. Protests were also reported from Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan.
March 22, 2003: In Peshawar, teachers, lawyers and students staged protest rallies denouncing the US-led invasion of Iraq. A rally led by Vice-Chancellor of the Hazara University Dr Ashraf Adeel and Peshawar University Teachers Association President Arbab Khan Afridi passed a memorandum that termed the war as tragic and called nations (US and Britain), engaged in the war as perpetrators of the worst form of terror in the human history. Participants of the All-Pakistan Lawyers' Convention included approximately 800 lawyers from the Supreme Court Bar Association, the Peshawar High Court Bar Association, the Peshawar District Bar Association, Sindh and Punjab Bar Associations. The Peoples Students Federation also staged a protest demonstration in front of the Peshawar Press Club to denounce the US attack on Iraq.
In Karachi, members of city council unanimously condemned the US-led war and denounced the reckless bombardment on civilian area. They said the US ruthlessness in the name of peace in the region only proves that the world is moving back towards the dark ages when only the policy of "might is right" was followed.
March 21, 2003: Thousands of people on March 21 held countrywide demonstrations for a second day to protest against the US-led war on Iraq. According to media reports, approximately, 200 rallies were held across Pakistan calling for an end to hostilities and condemning US aggression. The protests, called by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a six-party Islamist fundamentalist alliance, passed off peacefully. A partial strike was observed in many cities. Rallies were held in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and at several other places. Amid slogans of "death to America", demonstrators burnt US and British flags, as also effigies of US President George Bush.
MMA President Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani said at a rally in Islamabad that the war on Iraq should be considered a ‘holy war’, and it was the religious obligation on every Muslim to fight the "evil forces" in any way they could. Speaking at a demonstration in Islamabad after the Friday prayers, MMA leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said, "The US has no legal and moral ground to attack Iraq as the war is not supported by the United Nations." He added that the military attacks by US-led forces on Iraq had put global peace in danger and the world body seemed to be ineffective and helpless before the aggression of a superpower.
In Karachi, many protest marches were held after the Friday prayers. Most of them were organised by religious groups, although the MMA’s call for strike was, reportedly, partially successful. Reports have indicated that most markets, shopping centres and businesses remained open and students attended classes. MMA activists held demonstrations in various parts of the city, including at Banaras Chowk, Lyari, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Shershah and Quaidabad, against the US invasion and prayer leaders called for a ‘holy war’ against the US in their sermons during Friday prayers.
In Lahore, students, lawyers, political and religious parties, and others demonstrated against the war, describing the attack on Iraq as ‘the worst crime against humanity.’
At Peshawar, MMA activists organised protest marches in various parts of the city and later joined a large rally in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area after the Friday prayers. The MMA’s Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) and various Senators addressed the rally. However, most commercial establishments and shops in the city remained open.
At Quetta and in other towns in Baluchistan province, the MMA organised demonstrations against the war on Iraq. A complete strike, called by the Anujuman-e-Tajiran (Traders’ Union), was successful in Quetta as many traders kept their shops closed.
Compiled from English language media sources from Pakistan