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Nation marks Kashmir Solidarity Day

ISLAMABAD

The Kashmir Solidarity Day will be observed  Friday across the country with renewed commitment for bringing the Kashmir issue to the limelight amid brutal and unprecedented military siege of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).

The events will be organised in a novel manner to expose tattered and sham face of so-called Indian democracy prevailing in Delhi that ripped off the special status of IOJ&K on August 05, 2019. It has been first observed back in 1991 when the entire political leadership of the country unanimously expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri brethren to support their inalienable right to self-determination and liberation from Indian occupation.

The brutal occupant Indian forces had unleashed the worst human rights abuses and violence on the innocent Kashmiri people in its aftermath making around 8 million people hostage under military siege. In order to express solidarity and boost morale of the Kashmiris, Prime Minister Imran Khan will address a public gathering at Kotli in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). One minute silence will be observed at 10:00am across the country. Solidarity walks will be arranged in Islamabad, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and four provincial headquarters.

Human chains will be formed at Kohala, Mangla, Holar and Azad Pattan points linking Pakistan and AJK. In the federal capital, Muslim Institute will organise Kashmir Solidarity walk from China Chowk to National Press Club at 10:00am. Besides different parts of Pakistan, the Kashmir solidarity rallies will also be held in rest of the world.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Moeed Yusuf will launch a signature campaign and documentary highlighting Indian atrocities in IOJ&K at 10:30am. Information Minister Shibli Faraz will inaugurate a photographic and painting exhibition at Lok Virsa at 11:00am. In Gilgit-Baltistan, protest rallies will be organized in all districts of three divisions to condemn state terrorism and brutalities of Modi government against Kashmiri people.

The Pakistan government has announced public holiday in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day today.

In IOJ&K, posters with pictures of Prime Minister Imran Khan surfaced on the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day. According to Kashmir Media Service, the posters displayed by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Alliance thanked people as well as the Government of Pakistan, for showing solidarity with the Kashmiris on the day every year.

The posters read: “Thank you Pakistan, thank you Imran Khan for effectively raising the Kashmir issue at all global platforms.” The posters reiterated that the Kashmiris will continue their struggle till the achievement of the goal of freedom.

President Arif Alvi said in his message on the occasion said the people of Pakistan join in commemorating Kashmir Solidarity Day, paying rich tribute to the Kashmiris on their resilience in their just struggle for the right to self-determination.

“Self-determination is one of the fundamental rights codified in all major human rights instruments as well as the United Nations Charter. The denial of this right and subjugation of Kashmiris in IOJ&K is the very negation of human dignity,” he said.

He called upon the international community to hold India accountable for all its misdeeds and crimes against humanity. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the worst human rights violations being committed by the Indian security forces in IOJ&K challenged the collective conscience of mankind.

Speaking here on the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day, Qureshi said the response of international community to the human crisis in IOJ&K was not enough because no response could be enough until India was held fully accountable for its serious crimes against the Kashmiris.

He said denial of Kashmiris’ legitimate right to self-determination was an affront to the international community. “Though significant, the response is, however, not enough – not enough because no response can be enough till India is held fully accountable for its serious crimes against the Kashmiri people. It is the will of international community that is represented through the numerous UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir dispute – it is that very will that India continues to disobey,” said Qureshi.

However, he acknowledged that the world community had responded to the humanitarian crisis in IOJ&K in some ways. The recent report by EU DisinfoLab about India’s global disinformation campaign against Pakistan has further validated Pakistan’s position on India’s evil designs, he added.

In this regard, condemnation by multilateral and human rights organizations, international media, civil society and parliaments around the globe is a testimony to both the currency and the urgency of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. India cannot pretend what happens in this internationally recognized disputed territory is an ‘internal matter,’” he pointed out.

He said no expression of solidarity with the Kashmiris was complete unless everyone ensured that their basic rights and liberties were not violated on a daily basis by the Indian occupation forces.

Quoting Noble Laureate Elie Wiesel, who said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented”, Qureshi said now was the time to take sides.

“Today, India stands fully exposed before the international community for usurping the fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people,’ said the foreign minister adding that the Indian human rights violations had removed the façade of it being a so-called ‘democracy.’

“Sadly, despite the global condemnation, India has not corrected its course. On the one hand, it is busy further perpetuating its occupation of IOJ&K through illegal demographic changes, on the other, its political and military leaders continue to spew hate and hostility towards Pakistan”, he said.

He once again called upon the international community to hold India accountable and demanded that India undertook these steps:

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i. Immediately lift the continuing military siege and rescind illegal and inhuman actions taken in IIOJK;

ii. Remove restrictions on communications, movement and peaceful assembly;

iii. Immediately release the incarcerated Kashmiri political leaders and allow them to express the wishes of the Kashmiri people;

iv. Free arbitrarily and illegally detained Kashmiris;

v. Reverse the new domicile rules designed to change the demographic structure of IIOJK and cancel all fake domiciles granted to non-Kashmiris;

vi. Remove the draconian laws granting impunity to Indian occupation forces;

vii. Allow access for United Nations observers, international human rights and humanitarian organizations and the international media to Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir;

viii. Immediately halt ceasefire violations across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary;

ix. Stop sponsoring terrorism against the people of IIOJK; and

x. Fulfill its obligation of holding a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, to let the Kashmiris exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in numerous UNSC resolutions.

Earlier, in his weekly media briefing at the Foreign Office, the spokesman said it was ironic that India was able to sit on a UN body whose resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir have been persistently and defiantly flouted by it for over 70 years.

“It is crystal clear that a country which is in constant violation of the Security Council resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir does not fulfill the qualification requirements of even non-permanent membership of the Security Council,” he said.

India continues to oppress the Kashmiris and deny their inalienable right to self-determination that was guaranteed to them under numerous resolutions of the UNSC, added the spokesman confident that other responsible member of the Security Council will remain mindful of these facts and not allow India to abuse its position as a non-permanent member of the UNSC.

To a query, the spokesman said a comparison between the statements of Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Indian military leadership clearly showed the difference of approach and mindset.

“The statement by the Chief of Army Staff is a reflection of Pakistan’s desire for peace and security in the region. The statement is also a reiteration of the importance of peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

Pointing out that Gen Bajwa’s statement was a manifestation of Pakistan’s firm commitment to the ideals of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence, the spokesman said on the contrary, the Indian military officials had been making careers out of issuing irresponsible and provocative statements against Pakistan.

“The belligerent rhetoric of the Indian military leadership is an example of RSS-BJP mindset, which has permeated all state institutions of India,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shibli Faraz said the people of Pakistan and Kashmir would mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day in a befitting manner across the country and the globe today (Friday).

Addressing a news conference here along with Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur, he said President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) to express solidarity with the Kashmiri brethren.

President Arif Alvi will address the AJK Legislative Assembly while Prime Minister Imran Khan will address a public gathering in Kotli,” he added.

Shibli Faraz said Prime Minister Imran Khan was promoting the Kashmir issue at all the international forums and urging the international community to take notice of Indian aggression, atrocities and barbarism.

The minister said Pakistan would continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris. Shibli Faraz praised the media for playing a positive role in highlighting the Kashmir cause. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Kashmiri brethren,” he said.

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