Wearing branded suit with a tie of striking colour, Dr Wasim Shahzad, the Leader of House in the Senate, delivered a passionate speech during the first sitting of our Upper House of Parliament Monday afternoon. 

The sitting was devoted to discuss the issue of Palestine, which resurrected with a bang due to relentless and insanely vicious bombing of already besieged Gaza by the Zionist State since the second week of May 2021 until a few days ago. 

Cutting across the party divide, Senator after senator tried hard to ‘sensitize’ us regarding the importance of Palestine. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal, they kept repeatedly recalling, felt extremely upset when the Zionists began grabbing the Palestinian lands, way back in the early 1930s. 

Due to their deep concern, the Muslims of then British Indian were also mobilised to start expressing solidarity with Palestinians since 1938. After its independence, Pakistan also refused to recognise Israel as a legitimate state; Quaid-e-Azam firmly took the said decision himself. Like Kashmir, therefore, Palestine remains an “existential issue” for Pakistan and its people feel deeply sentimental about it. 

Senators representing the Pakistan Peoples’ Party did not end there. With justified pride, Yousaf Raza Gillani and Ms Sherry Rehman also felt the need to recall that the PPP founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, remained equally sentimental about the same issue. He had extended formidable military assistance to countries like Syria during the 73-war against Israel and in February 1974 assembled all heads of the Muslim States and Governments in Lahore for a historic summit. The main objective of this summit was to convert the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) into a forceful platform of “Muslim Ummah.”


Senators from both sides of the aisle were equally furious in deriding UNO, when it comes to protect Palestinians and people of Occupied Kashmir. The USA was also scorned for being a heartless patron of the Zionist State. ‘Western media’ was not spared either. It was rather blamed for exposing its anti-Muslim bias while reporting the recent events in Gaza. ‘The West,’ in short, was collectively perceived as a shameless icon of hypocritical double standards. 


Yet, Dr Wasim Shahzad continued spinning a feel-good story. He employed all tricks of pleading to make us believe that the so-called international community was essentially mobilised by Prime Minister Imran Khan to build pressure on Israel. He took the initiative of activating a dormant OIC during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and persuaded it to use its leverage to protect Palestinians. 


Due to the American Veto, the UN Security Council was not able to move to stop the recent carnage of Palestinians. That created the need for calling an emergency session of the UN General Assembly. To press for holding of the desired meeting, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi had rushed to Turkey. From there, he flew to New York along with a group of foreign ministers from various Islamic countries. Thanks to their collective efforts, the UN felt forced to summon the General Assembly and the speeches delivered there, eventually forced Israel to cease the bombing of Gaza. 


Sadly, not a Senator from the number-strong Opposition was genuinely motivated to question the veracity of self-praising story Dr Shahzad went on spinning with a straight face. 


An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis, including myself, indeed feel overwhelmingly sentimental about the historic and deepening wounds of Palestinians. That must not make us blind to our ‘limits,’ however, when it comes to brainstorm over means of furnishing solid help and assistance to them. 


Wailing over the obvious-looking double standards and hypocritical conduct of ‘the West,’ we can also not disregard the shocking indifference, most rulers of the “Muslim Ummah” displayed during the recent round of mass scale atrocities committed against Palestinians. Even the so-called streets in major cities of the Islamic world did not appear as disturbed and mobilised as they looked in cities like London.


It surely is time to courageously acknowledge the unbearable fact that Israel had almost unilaterally decided to cease ruthless bombing of Gaza, only after feeling confident that it had ‘degraded’ the military capacity of Hamas for many years to come. Until achieving its target, Israel contemptuously disregarded the rhetorical noisemaking in UN General Assembly. 


Nearly 90 percent of the bombs, HAMAS had been sending to various cities of Israel were intercepted and destroyed in the air. Instead of hitting substantive targets, the barrages of useless bombs rather furnished the Zionist State with the excuse of savagely ‘retaliating in self-defense.’


Gaza is now a devastated strip of land dotted with huge piles of rubble. At least 91,000 Palestinians had lost homes built with many years of sweating and the money saved by generations. The ruined Gaza has no regular supply of electricity and drinkable water. Billions of US dollars are required to rebuild it. But on SOS basis, the hapless people stranded there urgently need food and medicine to survive and international aid agencies can only reach Gaza, if Israel allows them to enter there.


We must also not forget that Israel is not alone in firmly controlling access to Gaza. The government of Egypt remains equally hesitant to grant access from its side. It strongly suspects that ‘terrorists,’ allegedly associated with the Egypt-originated Muslim Brotherhood maintain hyperactive links with HAMAS. 


At this point in time the abandoned people of Gaza certainly not need passionate speeches to recall ‘historic links,’ our Senators kept drumming during the Senate sitting of Monday. What they desperately need is the SOS supply of food, drinkable water and medicine. 


Then, it would come to huge funds, ensuring rehabilitation and reconstruction on a fast track. Such funds and assistance can only come from the rich and powerful countries, including the oil rich Muslim States, and humanitarian organisations of global reputation and clout. The Zionist State will definitely want to maintain ultimate command and control over the whole process of relief and rehabilitation in the name of its ‘security.’


But the speeches, delivered in the Senate of Pakistan Monday, suggested no strategy for addressing these immediate and fundamental questions in the given context. 


Both Dr Wasim Shahzad and many Opposition representatives proudly referred to profuse expressions of gratitude, the Palestinian Ambassador in Islamabad constantly conveyed to the government, various political parties and people of Pakistan. 


While sincerely acknowledging such expression of gratitude, one can sadly not disregard the reality that HAMAS had been acting almost solo in Gaza for the past many years and it does not let the FATAH-led Palestinian Authority to effectively intrude in Gaza. Swayed with emotions our Senators, however, preferred to act oblivious of this bitter truth as well.