Noteworthy News and Analysis from Around the World

In-Depth Coverage of Issues Concerning the Global Sikh Community Including Self-Determination, Democracy, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, Antiracism, Religion, and South Asian Geopolitics

Home | News Analysis Archive | Biographies | Book Reviews | Events | Photos | Links | About Us | Contact Us

70,000 March in Pakistan Against War


Reuters, Karachi, Mar. 2, 2003

"Tens of thousands of Muslims rallied in the restive Pakistani port city of Karachi on Sunday against a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq. Security was tight as about 70,000 protesters marched through the city chanting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great) and 'The World Says No to War' in Pakistan's biggest anti-U.S. protest in years. Demonstrators included women in burqas, the traditional head-to-toe dress for conservative Muslim females, who marched alongside men. Some protesters brandished posters of Saddam Hussein and at least one placard was seen with the image of Washington's arch-nemesis, Osama bin Laden. In neighbouring India, several thousand people waved placards saying 'No War,' as they marched eight k.m. (five miles) through the centre of the southern city of Hyderabad to protest against a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq."
" 'This is not a political movement but a fight to protect human rights,' said P. Margava, convenor of the Forum against War, which organised the Indian march. 'If the U.S. attacks Iraq, it will create unprecedented chaos in the world.' . . . The Karachi rally was called by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (M.M.A.), a coalition of right-wing Islamic parties that made strong gains on the back of anti-U.S. sentiment prompted by the U.S.-led war in neighbouring Afghanistan. Also involved in the protests was the Tehreek-i-Insaf party of former cricket legend Imran Khan. A speaker from the party called on Pakistanis to boycott products from U.S. companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonald's. . . . Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the head of Pakistan's biggest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, said the government should not just abstain from the Security Council vote. 'We want the government to vote against the U.S.,' he told the rally."