On January 25, 2009, Minhaj-ul-Quran International and Minhaj Welfare Foundation jointly organized a Gaza Conference in the central secretariat of MQI. Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Jaser Ahmad, graced the occasion as the guest of honour. Due to participation of central leaders of different religious and political parties and broad-based representation of almost walks of life, the conference turned into an All-Parties Conference (APC). This was the first rare occasion when 170 million people of Pakistan expressed their solidarity with their Palestinian brethren from the platform of Minhaj-ul-Quran International. The proceedings of the conference got under way with the recitation from Holy Quran followed by the presentation of Naat.
Addressing the conference telephonically from Canada, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that it was a matter of great regret that the UN is not able to stop the aggression. He said that the US vetoed 289 resolutions from 1972 to 2008 out of which 107 resolutions were meant to protect Israeli aggression against Palestine. The US administration protected and encouraged Israeli aggression on the hapless Palestinians through these vetoes. Bush administration used the veto power 11 times in 2008 in addition to the vetoing of the recent resolution presented in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). He said that more than 1.5 billion Muslims were helpless before Israel.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri advised the Muslim Ummah to forge unity in their ranks and not to bank on the UN and Security Council for resolution of their disputes. Now even a small hint of potential attack from the adversary would lead countries to use pre-emptive strike.. Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the ruling elites in the Muslim world would have to rise above their personal interests and take collective decisions. Only in this way would peace be established in Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq and Afghanistan, deterring the aggressors from committing aggression against the Islamic countries.
In his address to the conference, Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Jaser Ahmad, said that he was immensely indebted to the Pakistani people, religious and political organizations who showed their solidarity with the oppressed Muslims of Gaza. He said “The indifference and passivity of the Muslim rulers and world powers over the Israeli terrorism and barbarism was regrettable.” Israel did not spare even the children, women and the old. No law of the world allows the killing of innocent people, he said. Hospitals and worship places were also attacked. He demanded that Israel should be tried in International Court of Justice for its war crimes. He asked the media men, journalists, columnists, lawyers and intellectuals to continue their struggle for the independence of Palestine. Mr. Jaser Ahmad appealed to the media to start live appeals for financial support of the Palestinian brethren.
He said that Minhaj Welfare Foundation (MWF) had taken an appreciable initiative by holding Gaza Conference for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza, for which he expressed his gratitude to Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri and other leaders of MQI. He said that there was acute shortage of doctors and medicine in Gaza. He appealed to the Government of Pakistan and heads of other Islamic countries through Gaza Conference to extend their help in the relief work and guarantee that Palestinians would never be subjected to such cruelties again. He also demanded of the Government of Pakistan to provide C-130 plane for transportation of relief goods donated by various Pakistani organizations to Gaza.
Senator S.M. Zafar, chairman of Human Rights Committee and former federal law minister, said that Minhaj Welfare Foundation gave an opportunity to religious and political organizations of the country as well as other sections of society not only to demonstrate their solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza but also chart out coordinated course of action through the conduct of Gaza conference. He said that the use of Phosphorus bombs in the three-pronged attack on Gaza constituted the worst violation of the human rights. He said that Islam permitted Jihad only in defence and rebutted the idea of pre-emptive strike, whereas majority of Muslim countries had fallen victim to the policy of pre-emption. He said that the Muslim Ummah would have to make progress in the field of science and technology. "The powers that be of the Muslim world would have to take decisions with collective interest in mind," he concluded.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Secretary General of Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and former federal minister for Information and Media Development, said in his speech that the time had come that Palestinian and Kashmir disputes should be resolved. The Muslim countries would have to formulate policies with unanimity. He disclosed that the Israeli prime minister got the speech of President Bush halted during the Israeli barbarism on Gaza and asked him by way of order to veto resolution against Israel. He demanded of the rulers to present their case effectively before Barrack Hussain Obama and plug the gaps between West and the Muslims.
Former federal minister for religious affairs, Ijaz-ul-Haq, said in his talk that Bush condoned Israeli aggression on the Palestinians in the last days of power, while Barrack Obama started off in White House with drone attacks on the tribal areas of Pakistan. He said that it was matter of misfortune that the Muslim world could not be on the same page further weakened by mutual discords and rifts. If ten effective rulers of the strong Muslim countries were to tell Obama that we stood united, no one would dare cast an evil on the Muslim countries. He said that there was no role of OIC and the Arab League. "If the Muslim countries did not get together, their future would be bleak," he said.
Jahangir Bader, Secretary General of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, said in his presentation that the nefarious agenda of Israel was to drive Palestinians out of their motherland. The third generation of Palestine grew up in an atmosphere marked by war and violence but Israel could not succeed in implementing its designs. He said that Pakistan People's Party condemned the Israeli barbarism. He said that everything including terrorism and democracy etc was characterized with globalization, therefore, there was all the more need for 56 plus Islamic countries to get united. The Islamic countries should talk to the international community on a joint agenda for resolution of conflicts in Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ehsan Wain, Secretary General of Awami National Party, said in his speech that either there was democracy or autocracy but these systems were not supported by people at large. The Pakistani foreign policy was tied to the apron strings of the US. It was unfortunate that Pakistan became a symbol of terrorism instead of Islam. He said that the fact that Hussain was the middle name of Mr. Obama did not mean that policies of the US would also change. The integrity, solidarity and independence of Pakistan was very closely linked to the independence of Palestine and Kashmir. That is why we would have to get united.
Central leaders of other parties also spoke in the conference. All of these speakers said that the Israeli aggression against Palestine was an open conspiracy meant to sabotage the peace and harmony in the world. In additional to presence of local media, a large number of international media men also participated in the conference.
At the end, 11-point joint resolution was presented in conference to which all participating leaders agreed unanimously. This resolution condemned Israel in the strongest possible terms, declaring its actions as war crimes. The conference concluded on Dua for establishment of peace in the world and safety and security of the Muslim Ummah.
Resolution of Gaza Conference
After thorough deliberations, the participants of the conference representing cross-section of the Pakistan opinion has expressed consensus over the following points:
- By attacking Gaza, Israel violated international laws and conventions and perpetrated state terrorism. The participants of conference jointly condemn this Israeli action.
- The participants also condemn the indifference and passivity of the international powers over the Israeli aggression and atrocities. They also regret the inaction of the United Nations Organizations over its failure to deal with Israel.
- Participants also regret the failure and helplessness of OIC, Arab League and the governments in over 56 Muslim countries to rein in Israeli barbarism and regard it as a matter of shame.
- The conference also demand of the Muslim countries in general and the Arab League in particular to take all possible steps for immediate rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Gaza victims;
- The conference demand of the government of Egypt to open up its borders for relief operations so that the welfare organizations could be able to play their role in the rehabilitation and relief of those affected in Gaza;
- The participants also express their firm resolve to play their role at their respective organizational levels for relief and rehabilitation of the people of Gaza;
- The conference also demanded of the Government of Pakistan to provide facility for transportation of food, clothes, medicine and doctors including relief goods for emergency support of the Palestinian.
- It also demanded of the government to establish a fund by the name of "Gaza Fund" and urge the top government leaders, members of National and provincial legislatures and Senate to donate generously in this fund. The people of Pakistan should also be requested to give maximum donations so that the Pakistani nation expresses its total solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza and Palestine;
- The participants of the conference also demand of the OIC and Arab League to set up an emergency fund on permanent basis along with other member states so that the Muslims in any part of the world could be helped out financially in case of any natural tragedy or war;
- The conference also decided to observe February 5 as "Kashmir and Palestine Solidarity Day" throughout Pakistan and take out joint rallies in all the major cities of the country;
- The participants also condemn the Indian threats to Pakistan in the strongest possible words and resolve to stand united for national security and defence.
- The meeting also demands of the rulers in the Muslim in view of present opportunity of political change in the US to collectively urge the new American leadership to opt for dialogue, reforms and developmental plans instead of force for elimination of terrorism. It [new leadership] should also bring drone attacks on Pakistan to an end and ensure the resolution of Afghanistan, Palestine and Kashmir disputes.