KARACHI: Palestinian National Day was celebrated at the Karachi Press Club (KPC). Retired Maj Gen Sikandar Hayat, presided over the event.
The message of the Palestinian Ambassador, Ahmad Rabaie, was read out by a Palestinian student Abdul Qadir. The ambassador remembered Yasser Arafat’s achievements on the day 56 years ago against Israeli targets. “Our roots are in the land of Palestine”, he said. For the last 100 years, hundreds of Palestinians have been martyred, injured and taken prisoner. Israel has illegally extended its settlements into Palestinian land. Encouraged by the US, it has been ignoring UN resolutions, he said.
The ambassador underlined that a just solution of the issue requires an end to occupation of Palestine. He thanked the people and political parties of Pakistan for their continuing support to the Palestinian cause.
Sikandar said said his first interaction with the Palestinian people happened when he was a student at the Engineering University, Lahore. There were more than a dozen Palestinian students. There he got to know them better.
He asked the audience to think what the problem of Palestine is. “Is it just the problem of occupying a small piece of land?” After the end of the Ottoman Empire, he argued, the entire world was in the hands of the colonisers. They were shaping the world the way they wanted to. They could have done anything. But they kept Palestine separate as per a particular plan. If they could leave the subcontinent and give it to a certain power, then they could do anything [with other regions]. “This is something else for which we need to go into history.”
Gen Hayat pointed out that historians say that humanity is divided into three branches: the Aryans, the Mongols and the Samis (Semites). The last ones are those who belong to Arab land. All the prophets were born in this region. This area has tremendous importance.
He said there’s potential in this area and that’s what they [occupying forces] are afraid of. When we look at Palestine, “is there a more brave and courageous nation in the world than Palestinians?” He added the kind of oppression that the Palestinians have faced is hard to find in human history. Rockets are fired on neighbourhoods. “You will not find a more brave and courageous nation in the world.” Now you can imagine why they are so focused on Palestine. It’s the potential, which can be gauged from history, that is there and they don’t want that to appear again. Therefore the Palestinian issue needs to be analysed differently, he said.
Ambassador Hasan Habib said by holding a programme on the important day at the KPC they weren’t doing any favour to the Palestinian brethren. “It is our sacred duty to support Palestine. It’s an issue close to our hearts. Relations with Israel can only happen after your [Palestinians’] rights are secured.”
Bishop Nazeer Alam said he would always support the Palestinian cause.
Mahfuzun Nabi Khan appreciated the fact that the event on Friday was taking place in Karachi, the city of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and at the press club which has always supported the cause of the oppressed people.
After the speeches a communiqué was read out. The first of its two paragraphs was: “The participants of the Palestinian National Day celebrations have appealed [to] the human conscience to treat Palestinian Arabs as equal human beings. They urged the political establishment, civil society, intelligentsia and peace-loving masses all over the world to honour the political rights and respect the human rights and civil liberties of the people of illegally occupied territory of Palestine.
“They called upon the government to use their good offices and moral influence to get Palestine, the heartland of civilisations, from the clutches of the forces of occupation internationally. The participants kindled high hopes that the world community will come forward to get the sovereign and independent nation state of Palestinian Arabs.”