LAHORE – Thousands of people, mainly activists of religious and religio-political parties constituting Defense of Pakistan Council (DPC), kicked off long march from Lahore towards Islamabad on Sunday to protest resumption of Nato supplies through land route.

Leaders addressed the participants of long march in various cities and reached Gujrat at night from where they would proceed to Islamabad in the morning on Monday (today).

Amid elaborate security arrangements made by Jamaat-ud-Dawa workers and police, thousands of activists, riding hundreds of vehicles including two wheelers, marched towards Islamabad via GT Road under the leadership of heads of DPC component parties to raise a strong voice against restoration of Nato supplies, drone attacks and ever-increasing US influence in the region. Highly charged participants, waving flags of their parties, vent their anger by raising full throat slogans against the US and rulers in Islamabad. In the morning, the religious leaders gathered at Masjid-e-Shuhada and offered prayer (nawafil).

The participants, led by DPC Chairman Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, started marching from Masjid-e-Shuhada at 11:15 am and reached Nasser Bagh in about one hour due to huge rush and long convoy of vehicles. After brief speeches of the top DPC leadership at Nasser Bagh, the convoy started marching towards Islamabad via GT Road. Dozens of Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, a sister organisation of Dawa, ambulances were also part of the convoy. As many as 40 doctors and hundreds of support staff were accompanying the participants to provide emergency medical treatment. Dawa men closely monitored the entire convoy through CCTV cameras installed on various vehicles to avoid any untoward incident. People welcomed participants of long march in various cities by showering rose petals. Dawa workers and people from various walks of life established sabeels on the route to ensure provision of cold drinking water to the participants.

Addressing the participants in various cities on way to Islamabad and talking to the newsmen after offering Nawafil at Masjid-e-Shuhada, leadership of component parties asked people to join the long march to express anger over the restoration of Nato supply line. They vowed to stage sit in on route of Nato supplies and free the country from the US influence. They said that it was a pity that rulers in Islamabad were facilitating the US instead of taking decisions as per the public aspirations. They expressed sorrow over resumption of Nato supplies in violation of Parliament resolutions.

Addressing the participants, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq said the DPC had no political motive and it had launched long march to take the country out of the US influence. He said forcing the US out of Afghanistan was necessary and in the interest of the country and entire region. He said lakhs of innocent Muslims have so far been killed in the so called war on terror and even greater in numbers were crippled. He said that the rulers in Islamabad were equally responsible for these killings as they were facilitating the US by allowing Nato supplies and drone attacks. He said war on terror was in reality a conspiracy to eliminate Muslims which was evident from the statement of the then US President Bush which termed aggression a Crusade. He said that coming generation would not forgive if ‘we fail to end US influence in Pakistan’. He vowed to fail the conspiracy of putting the country under UC control with the public support. He said the country was passing through a critical phase and it was responsibility of every citizen to come out to save Pakistan. He said that it was a pity that the rulers were following policies of Musharraf regime. He deplored that the US was openly flouting the security and autonomy of Pakistan through drone strikes in Waziristan. He strongly reacted to the statement of Rehman Malik, saying the government itself never obeyed any law. He announced to hold long march from Queta to Chaman, Karachi to Hyderabad, Multan to Dera Ghazi Khan, Sargodha to Mianwali, Peshawar to Khyber, Rawalpindi to Chakwal and Faisalabad to Sargodha and stage sit ins on Nato supplies route if the decision was not taken back.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa ameer Hafiz Muhammad Saeed said historic long march has proved that the nation was not ready to accept resumption of Nato supplies. He said that the rulers have given a breathing space to the US which was losing war in Afghanistan. He said the DPC had come out to protect integrity and solidarity of the country. Saeed said DPC had a major role in stopping of Nato supplies for eight months. He said DPC was working to fail conspiracies both from the within and outside the country. He appealed to masses to get united to transform Pakistan into a real autonomous and sovereign country. He expressed hope that the long march would bring the nation back to the ideology on which Pakistan was created.

Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Syed Munawar Hasan said that DPC long march was not only for Defence of Pakistan but for the entire Muslim Ummah. He said that this long march would prove a fresh and pleasant breeze for Ummah. Munawar said that the rulers in Islamabad and Kabul were acting as US slaves. He said that the US was capturing resources of Islamic countries with the support of such rulers. He said that people against resumption of Nato supplies, drone attacks and Salala like incidents should come out and join DPC long march.

Convener DPC Coordination Committee Gen (r) Hameed Gull said that the rulers were allowing the US to use Pakistani soil for aggression against another Islamic country. He said the rulers mislead the nation by raising issue of apology. He said the US was trying to give important role to India in Afghanistan which was against interests of Pakistan.

Awami Muslim League Chief Sh Rasheed Ahmed said that DPC would continue struggle till end of the US influence in the country. He said that people would have to come out against dearness and loadshedding like they did against resumption of Nato supplies. He said that people could not even sleep due to massive loadshedding while it was also wasting precious study time of coming generation.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, Khadim Hussain Dhilon, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, Liaqat Baloch, Ibtesam Elahi Zaheer, Abdul Ghaffar ropri, Maulana Amir Hamza, Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Qari Yaqoob Sh, Abdul Rauf Farooqi, Khalid Waleed and others also addressed the participants of long march.

DPC kicks off long march on islambad