'Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Kashmir': Govt, opposition leaders share Independence Day messages

Published August 14, 2019
In this photo taken on August 9, Kashmiris shout pro-freedom slogans during a protest in Srinagar. — AFP
In this photo taken on August 9, Kashmiris shout pro-freedom slogans during a protest in Srinagar. — AFP

As the nation observes August 14 today, messages from leaders called attention to the plight of people in Kashmir in the face of recent actions by India.

Pakistan has called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), saying the move by India’s Hindu nationalist-led government to downgrade Jammu and Kashmir’s status threatens international peace and could lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Read: President Alvi says Pakistan will continue to stand with Kashmiris

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in his message on Wednesday said that the country stands "shoulder to shoulder" with Kashmiris.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their struggle to exercise their right to self-determination."

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that now was the time to take and implement timely decisions on Kashmir.

Shehbaz said that this year the streets of occupied Kashmir were wearing a deserted look and were asking "If not now when?" He said that they had always been committed to Kashmir but now was the time to take and implement timely decisions.

The PML-N president added that the current situation in occupied Kashmir required the attention of world leaders and more importantly, it reminded Pakistani leaders of the true meaning of compassion. On behalf of the PML-N, he assured Kashmiris of the support of Pakistanis.

In his Independence Day message, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi espoused the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

"We stand united with the people of Kashmir and their right to self-determination," he wrote in a post shared on Twitter.

In a subsequent tweet, he said that in a letter to the UNSC president calling for an emergency session on Kashmir, Pakistan had reminded the UNSC of the "inalienable right" of Kashmiris, which he said was the international body's "duty to protect".

Read: Pakistan seeks emergency UNSC meet on Kashmir

While speaking to the media, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said that without the independence of Kashmir, the independence of Pakistan was incomplete.

"The whole nation is standing in solidarity with Kashmir," she said, adding that Kashmir could not become a part of India.

In his message, PTI senior leader Asad Umar said that today the individuals whose sacrifices had led to independence should be remembered.

"Hopefully one day Kashmiris will also see the blessing of independence," he added.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser also said the people of Pakistan were standing with Kashmiris. NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri said that India would never be able to suppress the Kashmiris' movement for self-determination.

Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi addressed a flag hoisting ceremony at the convention centre in Islamabad during which he said that Pakistan has always stood with Kashmiris and would continue to do so.

Additional reporting by Javed Hussain

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