The Jamaat-ud Dawah (JuD) on Thursday attacked Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar for initiating the dialogue to accord India with the most favoured nation status in trade. Maulana Abdur Rehman Makki, a JuD leader told a gathering in Lahore “How can this 33-year-old girl know anything about the 63-year-old Pakistan?”
The JuD rally was supported by other religious parties who have claimed that they are united on the issue of not awarding MFN status to India. Thursday’s rally was to protest against the decision to award the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and the water shortage faced by Pakistani farmers. JuD workers said that India had cut off Pakistan’s water lifeline.
The protesters rode tractors, trucks and motor bikes from one end of Lahore to another. This resulted in huge traffic jams in Lahore. A number of the protestors were farmers who came into Lahore to register their anger.
The rally itself had a festive air with religious songs blaring in the background. During the rally, senior member of Jamat-ud-Dawa, Ameer Hamza said, “When Pakistan announced that it might award MFN status to India, Ali Geelani called Hafiz Saeed, and Hafiz Saeed reassured him that we will not leave Ali Geelani alone.”
“India can never be a most favoured nation for Pakistan,” he added. The JuD also issued some veiled threats to the governmen. “If this decision (to award MFN status to India) is not reversed, then those who are responsible for this decision will have to get reversed.”
Secretary General Punjab of Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamat, the political wing of banned militant outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba, expressed his solidarity with the Jamat-ud-Dawa and said: “We are with Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki and Hafiz Saeed.” During the speeches, media efforts to promote harmony with India were also condemned. Many journalists said that the anger of the JuD was directed towards media houses who promoted Pakistan-India unity.A local media channel reported that when participants were asked why they were attending the rally, one tractor driver said he was paid Rs 2,000; others said they were paid between Rs 2,000-5,000. Religious parties have said that they will now organise more protests so that the government takes back its decision.