“Israel is involved in the genocide of Muslims in Palestine and we would never allow the federal government to establish diplomatic relations with it,” alleged JUI-F party leader,
Images and video circulated on social media Thursday of a so-called “million man march” against Israel in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
The massive rally was organized by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), a right-wing Islamist party at the head of the country’s political opposition, against the possibility of Pakistan normalizing relations with Israel.
“Israel is involved in the genocide of Muslims in Palestine, and we would never allow the federal government to establish diplomatic relations with it,” said JUI-F leader Maulana Saleemullah Alwazi at a separate rally on Monday, according to The News International, a Pakistani newspaper.
In December, Pakistani officials denied rumors that the country was moving towards such a deal, following normalization agreements between the Jewish state and countries like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Footage of the Thursday march showed tens of thousands of protesters draped in the black-and-white stripes of the JUI-F party, which broke away from its parent (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam) in the 1980s.
Party head Fazal-ur-Rehman — whose name gave the breakaway faction its “F” appendage — addressed the protest, and was recently named head of a coalition opposing the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“The situation in Kashmir is exactly the same situation in Palestine,” Khan said in a January interview, according to to the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency. “If we recognize Israel’s takeover of Palestine territories, then we also have to recognize what India has done in Kashmir, so we completely lose moral standing.”