MEMBERS and supporters of various political parties raise national, Kashmiri and party flags during a rally in the city on Wednesday.—AFP
MEMBERS and supporters of various political parties raise national, Kashmiri and party flags during a rally in the city on Wednesday.—AFP

KARACHI: Thousands of men, women and children took part in numerous rallies and programmes organised across the city by different political parties, academic institutions and civil society to mark the 72nd Independence Day as well as to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir on Wednesday.

This year the Independence Day activities have been dedicated to the people of India-held Kashmir facing atrocities after New Delhi had revoked the special status of the Muslim-majority occupied valley in Article 370 of its constitution.

Political parties came up with several programmes and rallies on different city roads, all of which finally concluded at the Quaid’s mausoleum.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf took out its Jashn-i-Pakistan and Kashmir solidarity rally from its headquarters, Insaf House. Party leaders Haleem Adil Sheikh led the rally that ended at the Quaid’s mausoleum.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sheikh said that every Pakistani would fight for Kashmir. He said the Kashmiris had been braving unarmed a historical freedom struggle against Indian brutalities and its state-sponsored terrorism.

Rallies, flag-hoisting, cake-cutting ceremonies held across the city to mark 72nd Independence Day

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan also took out a rally from Quaid’s mausoleum to the Empress Market. Federal Minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui led that rally, which was attended by a large number of the party’s workers and supporters.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Siddiqui asked the world bodies to take notice of human rights violation by India and its security forces in held Kashmir. He demanded that the recent curfew imposed in the held valley be lifted forthwith.

The Jamaat-i-Islami said that it had staged more than 12 rallies across the city. A large number of people attended the rallies. A flag-hoisting ceremony was also organised by the party at its Idara Noor-i-Haq headquarters.

“The spirit which we are witnessing today reminds us [of] the one which was witnessed during the Pakistan Movement,” JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rahman said. “The same spirit is required for the freedom of Kashmir. Over 100,000 Kashmiri youngsters were killed and thousands of women were raped by the Indian army in a decade but the brutality has failed to inspire the UN to move against Indian aggression.”

The Pak Sarzameen Party also organised a rally from its headquarters, Pakistan House. PSP chairman Mustafa Kamal led the rally.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kamal paid tributes to the Muslims of India-held Kashmir for their unending struggle for freedom and self-determination. He said the PSP was fighting the cause of Kashmir in Karachi as whenever the Kashmiri struggle for freedom and self-determination gained momentum, the Indian spy agency RAW used to launch conspiracies causing bloodshed in Karachi through its agents.

The Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen, which organised fireworks at the Numaish traffic intersection in the early hours of the day, also staged a cake-cutting ceremony at its camp near Mazar-i-Quaid. MWM leaders in their addresses vowed to go to any extent with the state of Pakistan for freedom of Kashmir.

MWM leaders Nasir Shirazi, Allama Anwar Ali, Allama Sadiq Jafri and others attended the programme.

A flag-hoisting ceremony was also held at the University of Karachi in front of its new administration building. The venue was decorated with national as well as Kashmiri flags, balloons of green and white colours to mark Independence Day.

“Pakistan is at a crossroads facing various challenges for which everyone needs to play his part as a responsible citizen of the motherland,” KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said while addressing the ceremony. “We can get the highest rank in the international community by carrying out our duties faithfully.”

Later, Dr Iraqi and Registrar Prof Dr Saleem Shahzad led a rally from new administration block till Azadi Chowk to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

A flag-hoisting ceremony was also held at KU’s Political Science department. A number of students and teachers attended the event and later cut a cake to mark Independence Day and solidarity with Kashmir. Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr Summar Sultana, the chairperson of the department, said the political science department will launch a series of conferences and seminars to highlight the issue of Kashmir.

A flag-hoisting ceremony was also organised at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), which was attended by doctors, nursing staff, paramedics and other employees of the health facility. JPMC’s executive director Dr Seemin Jamali led a rally in which participants were carrying national and Kashmir flags to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir. The participants showed their support for the cause of Kashmir and condemned the Indian aggression.

Cardinal Joseph Coutts hoisted the national flag at a ceremony held in the St Patrick’s Cathedral to mark Independence Day.

The day began with a solemn Eucharistic celebration where members of the clergy prayed for the well-being and prosperity of the nation along with the congregation.

Later, they also jointly cut a cake to celebrate the country’s birthday.

Change of guard

An impressive change of guard ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the entire nation celebrated Independence Day.

A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Naval Academy cadets, clad in ceremonial dress, assumed guard duties at Mazar-i-Quaid with traditional spirit, enthusiasm and military customs to mark the Independence Day celebrations.

Earlier, the day dawned with gun salutes and special prayers were offered in all Naval mosques for progress and prosperity of the country and particularly for the success of Kashmir struggle, expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir following the illegal unilateral act of Indian government to change the status of occupied Kashmir.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019