Thousands take to Karachi streets to chant ‘Free, Free Palestine’


Thousands of people from all of Karachi converged together this Wednesday at the Press Club to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and demand the Israeli government put an end to their systemic genocide.

There has been a deadly acceleration in the number of attacks on Gaza in the past week, killing almost 200 people, drawing condemnation from all over the world, where similar protests have erupted.

Today’s protest saw the greatest participation by student-led bodies from universities and colleges in Pakistan who raised their voices against the violence and agony that the Palestinians have been subjected to for many decades.

It also drew in representatives from the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), National Trade Union Federation (NTBA), Home-Based Women Workers Association and the Karachi Tax Bar Association (KTBA).

A large number of civil society members, such as journalists, doctors, lawyers, and labour leaders and civil society also participated.

The protest started at 4pm and went on for two hours until the march began from Karachi Press Club, all the way to Regal Chowk, and back to the starting point. 

The head of the volunteering team— Obaid talked exclusively to and explained that they were anticipating 3,000-5,000 people at the most to show up. It was heartening, and equally shocking, to witness almost 15,000 people, including Pakistan’s beloved celebrities such as Mahira Khan, Sheheryar Munawar, Anoushay Ashraf, Ayesha Omar, Sanam Jang, Sarwat Gilani, amongst many others, showing up at the protest with their hearts brimming with support for the people of Palestine.

‘Save Palestine’ slogans echoed through the streets of Karachi on Wednesday // Photo by Bismah Mughal

The commemoration took place amid the pandemic, hence special care was taken by the team of 90 volunteers to ensure that SOPs were followed strictly. One of the volunteers admitted that the team was not ready for that many people to show, which made it difficult to control the masses in tight spaces to follow the SOPs. The volunteering team was also hyper-vigilant to ensure that no case of sexual harassment takes place on the site.

The social media manager of today’s event— Azzah, talked about the censorship against the war in Palestine on the internet and said it was cardinal to spread the message digitally to let the world know what is happening in Palestine. The social media page for PakistanForPalestine (PFP) movement gained thousands of followers and huge traction overnight after the message of the protest in Karachi went online.

Karachiites gathered to call for an end towards Israel’s continuous attacks on Palestine // Photo by Bismah Mughal

According to Azzah, that is the least we can do. Talking to, she said: “As Pakistani citizens, we will never be able to understand what they are going through but we know we have a sense of empathy and that is exactly why so many people came out today. And we will do it again and again and again till we make a change.”

Most of the attendees of today’s protest were young citizens who took to the streets to show the government that the youth is not impotent and that their voices matter. One of the initial organising committee members, Amna Ashraf, talked about the “special power” of today’s generation and said: “What is special about today’s generation is that we do have our differences with each other, but we have the ability to put aside those differences to come together and unite against what’s wrong,” she said.

“The message we gave today is clear. We will stand strong. We will stay firm. We will not waver to any form of force or oppression. The government should know if they will stay silent, then we will speak out loud. And we will do it as many times as it takes for us to get out of our homes.”

MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar pictured at the protest on Wednesday in Karachi // Photo by Bismah Mughal

One of the protestors, Dhauha Alvi, drew parallels between the settler’s colonialism happening in Palestine with the Gujjarnalla House Eviction ordeal in Karachi, and explained to raise voices for both issues is equally important and that is why she was marching today.

Karachi’s protest included people with diverse ideologies, from different socio-economic background, from various religions and sects, from a sundry of professions— united against Israel’s systemic tyranny and violence against Palestinians. The organisers are hopeful that this was not the last time they marched for Palestine, and that more protests will take place in the coming days.

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