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ISLAMABAD: The entire nation on Tuesday observed Kashmir Solidarity Day with a renewed pledge to continue extending all possible support to the people of India-held Kashmir struggling for more than seven decades to get their legitimate right to self-determination.

While Tuesday was a public holiday in Pakistan and across Azad Jammu and Kashmir, rallies, public meetings, seminars, festivals and other programmes were held across the country to expose massive human rights violations being committed by Indian forces to suppress indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris and draw the world’s attention towards the issue.

At many places one-minute silence was observed at 10am to pay tribute to the Kashmiri martyrs who sacrificed their lives to get their inalienable right of self-determination in line with the resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council.

While addressing the people who formed a human chain at D-Chowk, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Khan Gandapur said the Pakistanis were standing by the people of India-held Kashmir. He said the government and people would continue to extend their unflinching moral, political and diplomatic support to their Kashmiri brethren for the just cause of self-determination.

At Lok Virsa, Islamabad, Kashmir Festival was held to mark the day. Kashmiri artists and singers participated in the festival, while Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan broadcast different programmes on the struggle of the people of the India-held valley.

Kashmir Matters

Addressing a seminar titled ‘Kashmir Matters’, organized by South Asian Strategic Stability Institute University (Sassi) in collaboration with Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan at the Aiwan-i-Sadr, prominent All-Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders, Kashmiri activists and political leaders urged the international community to play its due role in resolving the world’s longest pending issue of Kashmir.

APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in his video message, said India was using all unethical, tyrannical, inhuman and undemocratic means to suppress the just Kashmiri struggle for freedom. He said thousands of Kashmiris had laid their lives against the Indian aggression, while thousands were being put behind bars, maimed, as indiscriminate use of pellet guns and rape were being used as a tool of oppression to suppress their voice. He also referred to the eye injury of 18-month-old Hiba. The media had been under gag with complete restrictions on movement, the Kashmiri leader said.

APHC AJK chapter convener Syed Abdullah Gillani said that Kashmir Solidarity Day was not merely symbolic but a practical step to give moral boost to the Kashmiri struggle.

He regretted that state terrorism by India had reached its peak but the Kashmiris were determined to thwart all the aggressive designs.

Mashal Malik, spouse of the detained Kashmiri leader Yaseen Malik, in her address, sought world’s intervention to resolve the issue. She also recited a poem to express her feelings over the situation in India-held Kashmir. She said India had been the biggest violator of democratic norms in the world. Shaista Shafi, a Kashmiri activist, also spoke.

Addressing a Kashmir Solidarity Day seminar, federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said India had turned the occupied valley into one of the most heavily militarized regions in the world. He said that even the local Kashmiri leadership like Mehbooba Mufti and Umer Abdullah, who were not supporting the point of view of Pakistan and Kashmiris, had admitted that the movement could not be suppressed.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2019