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WASHINGTON: In an Independence Day message on Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry renewed America’s commitment to working with the people to build a vibrant Pakistan.

At a separate event on Capitol Hill, Kashmiri leaders highlighted the current uprising in the Kashmir valley and warned that India was gradually changing its demography, trying to turn the Muslim majority into a minority.

“On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I send our best wishes to the people of Pakistan as you celebrate your Independence Day on Aug 14,” Mr Kerry said.

In a statement released by his office, the top US diplomat noted that since independence, the Pakistani nation had endeavoured to build upon the democratic ideals of the country’s founders.

The people of the country, he said, were working hard to strengthen security, economic stability and the democratic principles that benefited all Pakistanis.

“On this occasion, the United States joins you in celebrating the anniversary of Pakistan’s birth and we renew our commitment to working with you as you build a vibrant Pakistan,” Secretary Kerry said.

During the week, the Pakistan American Congress held a special event on Capitol Hill to inform US lawmakers about the latest situation in India-held Kashmir. Speakers talked about how Indian security forces had killed more than 50 Kashmiri protesters since last month and injured thousands of others.

In one of the sessions, Kashmiri leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Geelani addressed the audience by Skype and told them how India was trying to change the valley’s demography.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2016