World should act if it wants to prevent a third great war, says Asad Umar at Black Day rally

Published August 15, 2019
"Pakistan armed forces will not sit back while Kashmiris are being persecuted," says former finance minister Asad Umar. — DawnNewsTV
"Pakistan armed forces will not sit back while Kashmiris are being persecuted," says former finance minister Asad Umar. — DawnNewsTV

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf took out a rally in the capital on Thursday as the country observed August 15 as Black Day to protest Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

Party leaders including Asad Umar and Senator Faisal Javed were part of the rally, where a majority of the participants wore black.

"Pakistan armed forces will not sit back while Kashmiris are being persecuted," Umar said while addressing the rally. "If the world does not want a third great war to take place and peace to be disrupted, this is the best chance" to raise its voice against Indian actions in occupied Kashmir, he added.

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He revealed that PTI leaders would submit a resolution in this regard at the Indian High Commission in the capital.

In an impassioned speech at the rally, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said now was the time for the world to act to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

"This is the time to raise our voice for the Kashmir cause. Kashmir, the entire valley, the whole of Jammu and Ladakh has turned into an open air prison," he said.

"Their attention is now towards Pakistan, towards the UN Security Council [...] if after 50 years our case — which you had turned into a bilateral issue via the Simla Agreement — has reached the international level then I expect [them to act]."

"Before there is bloodshed and before the Modi government follows another Hitler-like pattern and moves towards genocide, the Security Council will have to play its role [in occupied Kashmir]," he said, urging global powers to step forward.

"The region's peace and stability has been put at stake," he said.

A separate rally was also organised by the PML-N in Azad Kashmir, where multiple leaders from the party spoke to condemn the ongoing brutality by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and the stripping off of its autonomous status.

Khwaja Asif in a strongly-worded address called for Islamabad to send New Delhi the message that Pakistan will never strike any sort of deal on Kashmir.

"My brothers and sisters, the downgrading of diplomatic ties will not cut it. Diplomatic ties should be severed. Suspending trade ties will achieve nothing. Trade ties should be abolished. The international public should realise that two nuclear powers of the subcontinent are now facing off against one another. We should not adopt a conciliatory tone," he declared, criticising the response shown by the government.

PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal also condemned the move by India which had left the world in shock.

"No parallel can be drawn in our 72-year history for this strike by India on Pakistan. In 1971, one of our arms was cut off from us. An amputation like that has major implications," he said.

The country's largely symbolic Black Day comes amid growing concern in Islamabad at the lack of international response to India's moves in occupied Kashmir.

Some newspaper issues on Thursday carried black borders and politicians, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, replaced their social media pictures with black squares. Flags on government buildings flew at half-mast.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, in a conversation with the media at Peshawar Press Club, also condemned India's Hindu nationalist government and said that people across the world who believe that residents of occupied Kashmir are being persecuted were observing Aug 15 as Black Day.

Read: 'RSS ideology of Hindu supremacy will lead to suppression of Muslims in India and to targeting of Pakistan'

The SAPM said that expressing solidarity with Kashmiris was in line with Prime Minister Imran's vision.

"Pakistan's independence celebration is incomplete until Kashmir is free," she said. "The partition of India will remain incomplete until the region is free."

She further said that the prime minister had taken a stand for oppressed Kashmiris on international forums and as a result, the United Nations Security Council had called a session to discuss the Kashmir dispute for the first time in 50 years.

Awan also highlighted Prime Minister Imran's address in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) assembly yesterday, where he had called out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and warned that Pakistan will respond to "every brick with a stone".

She said that the Hindu supremacist ideology followed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — which is believed to be the parent group of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party — had made it hard for minorities to survive in India.

"Today, there is no place for minorities in India, be it Muslims, Sikhs or any other group."

The government's chief spokesperson lauded journalists at the Peshawar Press Club for "echoing the nation" and expressing solidarity with Kashmiris.


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