‘Kashmir Day’ is considered our way of protesting against India on the issue of their illegal occupation of Kashmir. We observe shutter-down strike, close educational institutions, and observe official ‘holiday’.
This also means losses of billions of rupees to our own exchequer apart from stalling our snail’s pace progress into the twenty-first century. Just how we help the Kashmir cause in this way is hard to understand.
We should seize this occasion to rise above the self and bring in national harmony and a collective will to work together.
Each one of us should voluntarily put in at least one hour of overtime in our offices on this day beyond our normal office hours. We should not charge for this overtime in the spirit of national unity.
A labourer may similarly work one extra hour this day to help build the nation. A teacher at school may take one extra period without charging for it and the students may sit even more attentively in that extra period to seek knowledge and wisdom.
The funds collected from such an effort should be diverted by the government to the Kashmir cause by way of spending on the rehabilitation of the affected Kashmiris, projecting their cause abroad and on financing the logistics to the forces deployed in the liberated part of Kashmir. If the whole nation is motivated to contribute to the Kashmir cause in this manner, and if the leaders lead by example, we will have one hundred and sixty five million man-hours of extra work put in on this single day.
Also, I remember when I was at school in the late sixties; we used to have a clearly defined map of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in our geography books. Apart from the boundaries of the then East Pakistan, our western wing showed vividly the whole of Kashmir quite distinct from the international boundaries separating India.
Our geography teacher had a knack of teaching how to draw up the map of this western wing, starting from Kashmir to the north-east that resembled a lion’s jaw.
The map was displayed in all the official publications, news, media, television news-reels, etc. This reinforced the conviction in every Pakistani’s mind that Kashmir indeed is to be part of our territory, albeit currently under foreign occupation.
We seem to have lost touch even with this rightful claim of ours. In some inconspicuous way since the late eighties, our official media, our textbooks and even our entire press have been displaying a somewhat distorted map of our country where the foreign occupied part of Kashmir is either shown as part of the Indian territory or the topographic contour is just left to wander north-eastwards without showing the clear demarcation of the area.
With our concerted efforts and individual action, we can definitely bring about the realisation of keeping the cause of our Kashmiri brethren alive. CAPT. M. JAMIL AKHTAR KHAN Karachi
Day of solidarity
FEBRUARY five is observed as a solidarity day each year to pledge our resolve to support the Kashmiris in their struggle for their right to self-determination.
Kashmir remains an unresolved issue and a bone of contention between India and Pakistan.
What is happening on the line of control is a clear indication that India is not serious in carrying on the peace talks with its neighbour. Siachin, Sir Creek and the water dispute continue to figure in all bilateral talks but are never bilaterally resolved. Pakistan had agreed to grant India a most-favoured nation status.
Our one-sided concessions to India at this stage would certainly undermine the efforts of the Kashmiris who are looking for their right to self-determination.
This is a day when the people of Pakistan get together to highlight and expose to the world Indian brutalities and atrocities being committed on innocent Kashmiris.
This is a day when Pakistan appeals to the world community to help in resolving the core issue of Kashmir that has been lingering on since 1948.
Neither should the Kashmir issue be put on the backburner nor should normalisation of relations with India come at the cost of silence on the struggle of our brothers and sisters in Indian-Occupied Kashmir.
MUKHTAR AHMED BUTT Karachi