LAHORE: “Kashmir baney ga Pakistan” slogan reverberated in Lahore where the Punjab government organised a “Kashmir Solidarity March” on The Mall in connection with the black day on Thursday.
The protesters including the political and religio-political parties, civil society members and people from other callings from Lahore and other cities marched from Governor House (main gate) to the Punjab Assembly.
At the rally led by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the participants chanted slogans against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and resolved that the people of Pakistan would protect Kashmir -- its jugular vein -- at any cost.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the case of Kashmir had finally reached the Security Council to be discussed by its members. He said Narendra Modi had been exposed. All political leaders, he said, should shun differences and join hands with the Kashmiris to give a clear and strong message to India and rest of the world that Kashmir issue needed to be resolved according to the UN resolutions.
“The UN must play its due role before Modi becomes Hitler in India-occupied Kashmir,” the foreign minister said while referring to the curfew imposed in the valley.
Among the participants was Hurriat leader Yasin Malik’s wife Mishal Malik who said the Kashmiri brothers and sisters were facing untold atrocities being inflicted by the Indian forces. “Since India is killing the Kashmiris,” she said, “the UN and international organisations should come forward and save them from the atrocities.”
“When I walked through the streets of Srinagar alongside my husband, I witnessed the mountain-like enthusiasm of Kashmiris to get their right of self-determination,” said Ms Malik who had worn black headband.
She said the Kashmiris had been without any food and water for the past 12 days and children were dying, demanding that the Muslims across the world should observe Indian Independence Day as a black day.
“If you love Pakistan, love Kashmiris more,” she said. After the death of Burhan Wani, Ms Malik said, India had imposed curfew for five months and added that the day was not far when Kashmir would be liberated and its people would get their due rights. She urged the people of Pakistan to become the voice of Kashmiris.
Governor Chaudhry Sarwar said Narendra Modi, a butcher of Gujarat, was now killing the Kashmiris. He said the minority including Muslims were not safe in India. He said the whole world was observing black day to protest against Indian atrocities as well as express solidarity with the Kashmiris.
He said India would have to ultimately resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the UN resolutions. “With the massive rally in Lahore and other parts of the country, the people of Pakistan have given a message to India that we are standing with the Kashmiris and ready to give any sacrifice to get due rights of the Kashmiris,” he said.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the enthusiasm of the rally participants was unprecedented. “Today Pakistanis are raising only one slogan – ‘Kashmir will become Pakistan’.”
Mr Buzdar said India was trying to suppress the voice of the Kashmiris with guns and bullets for the past 70 years but the Kashmiris’ enthusiasm remained alive. He said India’s ill-plans and internal fears had been exposed with the imposition of curfew in Kashmir.
The chief minister said the UN should take notice of Indian violations on the LoC and in Kashmir. He expressed hope that the Kashmiris would celebrate Pakistan’s next Independence Day with Pakistan.
The chief minister announced renaming a road in every district and a park at every divisional headquarters as Kashmir Road and Kashmir Park. He also announced that a symbolic protest demonstration over Kashmir issue would be held every week.
PAT Secretary-General Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha, PTI Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry, health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan and other leaders also spoke.
The participants held placards bearing inscriptions: “Kashmir baney ga Pakistan” and “Modi should pull out its army from the IOK.”
PML-N: The PML-N women wing held a rally outside the Press Club to express solidarity with the people of the occupied Kashmir.
Holding placards and banners, the women workers chanted slogans against the Indian government for scrapping autonomous status of occupied Kashmir. They also burnt the effigy of Indian premier Narendra Modi. They wore black dress to observe Aug 15 as black day. PML-N MPA Rabia Farooqi led the rally.
PML-N Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bokhari said the Imran Khan government should tell the people what agreement it made with the BJP government on Kashmir.
CAA: The Civil Aviation Authority displayed flexes at the Lahore airport to express solidarity with the Kashmiris.
“Global silence over Indian state terrorism is deplorable. Act now support Kashmiris...,” were emblazoned on the flexes.
SECURITY: Law Minister Basharat Raja reviewed the security arrangements particularly for the public rallies and meetings held to observe the black day.
A four-layer security was in place for the main march and every participant was searched with metal detectors.
The law minister lauded police and district administration for the security arrangements they put in place on Eid and Independence Day.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2019