Pakistan is marking "Palestine Day" today (Friday) across the country to show solidarity with the victims of the Gaza massacre, with protest demonstrations and rallies planned across several parts of the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a meeting that took place a few days ago, had directed officials to hold protests to demonstrate Pakistan's unflinching support for the people of Palestine on Friday.
The PM had issued the orders during a meeting he chaired of government spokespersons. The aides of the PM had advised him to hold such a demonstration on Friday.
Israel has been pounding Gaza with air strikes, killing more than 250 men, women and children since tensions heightened following the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and Israeli police brutality at the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Pakistan has raised its voice against Israeli aggression at the United Nations, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying that the voice of the Palestinians cannot and will not be silenced.
Speaking on the occasion, National Security Advisor Moeed Yousuf said that Pakistan stands with the people of Palestine, adding that there could be no lasting peace without an independent Palestinian state.
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Maulana Asad, and several other parliamentary leaders also issued statements on the occasion to show solidarity with the people of Palestine as they visited the United Nations office in Islamabad.
"Innocent people are being massacred in Palestine and Kashmir. The issues of Palestine and Kashmir should be resolved in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)," said Shahbaz Sharif.
He said that if the problems of Kashmiris and Palestinians are not resolved, there would no peace in the world.
Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar, and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri also attended a rally to show solidarity with the people of Palestine.
National Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a resolution expressing deep concern over the increasing violence and brutality perpetrated against the Palestinian people by the Israeli apartheid regime. The resolution was submitted to the office of the United Nations today.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said the government has effectively raised the issue of Palestine internationally, adding that Pakistan welcomes the ceasefire decision of the parties.
"The Israeli occupation of Palestine must end and the only permanent solution to this problem is the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state," said. Shibli Faraz.
Akin to that, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addressed a Palestine solidarity rally at Lal Haveli and said that he hopes the issue of Kashmir and Palestine will be resolved one day.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Farrukh Habib said Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has effectively voiced the plight of Palestinian people at all the international forums.
“Not only the Prime Minister Imran Khan raised his voice against the brutal killing of over 250 innocent people in Palestine but also the Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi took a leading role and pleaded the case of Palestinians at the United Nation General Assembly meeting”, the state minister said while addressing at Palestine Solidarity Day celebrations at Eidgah Sharif.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Islamic Ideological Council, Dr Qibla Ayaz thanked Allah Almighty for the ceasefire in Palestine and said: “The dominant nation agrees to a ceasefire when there is pressure in international politics and political and diplomatic commitment is shown”.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the PTI-led government had been thinking of establishing relationships with Israel, adding that the people of Pakistan came together to condemn the Israeli atrocities in Palestine today.
"The Pakistani nation has united today against Israeli terrorism in Palestine," said Fazl. "Israel's true face was exposed over the last week."
Hamas-Israel ceasefire comes into force
A highly anticipated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that runs the Palestinian Gaza Strip officially came into force early Friday at 2:00am (2300GMT Thursday).
Only celebratory gunfire was heard on Gaza streets, AFP journalists said as truce came into effect three hours after the decision was made by Netanyahu's cabinet.
Earlier, Israel had announced a ceasefire to bring to a close an 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office had issued a statement on Thursday that said his Security Cabinet has unilaterally approved the ceasefire proposal put forward by Egypt.
“The political leaders emphasized that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign,” the statement said.
The Egyptian-mediated decision came as the Israeli premier was under increased pressure from the US to halt the offensive.
The Hamas representatives were not available for immediate comment.
Since May 10 when the offensive was launched, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes that it says have targeted Hamas’ infrastructure, including a vast tunnel network.
In the southern Gaza town of Rafah, devastating Israeli air strikes turned buildings into clouds of dust and rubble, as an ambulance sped across town to help the wounded.
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland was visiting Qatar for talks with Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas, as part of an effort to "restore calm," according to a diplomatic source.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "indirect talks" with Hamas were essential to advancing efforts toward an end of hostilities.
"Of course Hamas has to be included, because without Hamas there will be no ceasefire," Merkel said, who also spoke to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Thursday, where they agreed the need "for a speedy ceasefire".