LAHORE – A campaign to express solidarity with the Palestinian people was launched here in Lahore on Sunday. It would work under the name of “Pakistanis for Palestine” initiative.
Campaign coordinators and members, Amanullah Kariapper, Magid Shihade and Qalandar Memon announced this while addressing a joint news conference at Lahore Press Club here.
“We wish to send a message to the Palestinian people who suffer daily dispossession and denial of their rights to sovereignty, that Pakistani people of conscience support them in their struggle for justice and equality,” they said while giving rationale of launching such a movement in Pakistan.
They called upon Pakistani academics, artists, poets, writers, singers and filmmakers to join the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
“We are focusing initially on endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as called for by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Amanullah told reporters, adding, in the wake of the recent slaughter in Gaza in winter 2008-09, “We oppose any kind of normalisation of relations between Pakistan and Israel, including normalisation of Israeli discourse about terrorism that masks the realities of occupation and the denial of human rights.”
He said it was no secret that Israel was aided by the economic and military might of the United States, “and we oppose their imperialist designs and aggressions that are enabling violence and devastating the region”.
Dr Magid said that such a campaign was necessary in Pakistan because Israel”s policies were being normalised through the presence in Pakistan of international/American/Jewish organisations that were funding NGO”s and groups and supporting a pro-Israel agenda. Apart from this, he added, American spokespersons and academics were advocating Israeli positions, and, products made in Israel were being marketed by American and European organisations.
He believed that all these attempts aimed at justifying Israeli crimes and pacifying solidarity with Palestinians among Pakistanis.
“We believe this campaign is part of a larger effort to re-energise ethical political engagement in Pakistan and the region, with the aim of opposing American imperialist policies and its favoured Israeli enabler in the Third World,” observed Qalandar Menom while replying to a question.
He said that Palestinian movement for boycott of Israeli emphasised fundamental rights of Palestinians sanctioned by international law and universal human rights, that ought to be respected by Israel.