A one-minute silence was observed across the country at 10am on Sunday as the people of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) observed ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ to show solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir (IHK).
Pakistanis and Kashmiris have been observing Kashmir Day every year on Feb 5 without any discontinuity since 1990.
Crowds observing Kashmir day in AJK and Pakistan chanted anti-India slogans and set the Indian and American flags on fire. "We won't rest till we have freedom, we still steal freedom," the crowds chanted.
Children participated in a number of Kashmir Day rallies. In Muzaffarabad, they joined hands to form a symbolic human chain in a message to the international community in general and India in particular that Pakistanis and Kashmiris are like 'one soul in two hearts'.
Chairman of All Parties Hurriyet Conference Syed Ali Gilani and senior Hurriyet leader, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, expressed their gratitude towards the government, people and army of Pakistan for their support to the people of Kashmir.
According to the Kashmir Media Service, the leaders in their statements said the people of IHK are challenging a big power and Pakistan is the only country that extends its continuous support to their cause.
“People in India-held Jammu and Kashmir are challenging a big power and Pakistan is the only country that acknowledges our right to self-determination and extends its persistent support to us,” Gilani said.
“We are highly thankful to Pakistan for its categorical support and hope the country plays a more effective role in this regard by activating all its embassies and allocating them the task of highlighting Kashmir issue and human rights violations,” he said.
In his message, incarcerated chairman of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah said that observance of Feb 5 as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ was “encouraging and praiseworthy”.
Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates in different parts of the world, mainly the United Kingdom and United States, are also expected to hold rallies to voice their support for the people of held Kashmir.
Call for a fair plebiscite
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged India to stop the bloodbath in held Kashmir and allow holding of a free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations.
He said in a message for the last seven decades that India had denied valiant Kashmiris the right to self-determination promised to them by the international community through numerous UN Security Council resolutions.
The prime minister said the people of Pakistan joined their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in observing the “Kashmir Solidarity Day” to reaffirm the country’s moral, diplomatic and political support to their legitimate struggle for their basic human rights, especially the right to self-determination, enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain has said the dream for peace in the region would remain elusive until resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris.
In a message, Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the Kashmir Day had special significance this year because the recent uprising in India-held Kashmir, following the July 8 extra-judicial killing of popular youth leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani had shaken the conscience of the international community.