AJK capital sees first march for occupied Kashmir's independence

Published August 27, 2019
Only anti-India and pro-freedom slogans were chanted at previous protests while this one called for independent Kashmir. — Photo provided by author
Only anti-India and pro-freedom slogans were chanted at previous protests while this one called for independent Kashmir. — Photo provided by author

MUZAFFARABAD: In a first major pro-independence demonstration, a large number of men, women and children marched on the main thoroughfare on Monday, calling upon both India and Pakistan to quit the disputed and divided region of Jammu and Kashmir.

The rally, which had participants from five or six groups or factions of the organisations advocating complete independence of Kashmir from both nuclear-armed neighbours, began from the press club and concluded outside a military installation that houses the camp office of UN Military Observers.

While only anti-India and pro-freedom slogans including “Kashmir banega Pakistan” had been chanted at all previous protests and rallies since Aug 5 when India moved to annex the disputed region, the Monday’s rally was different in that the emotionally charged participants said they wanted both India and Pakistan out of their motherland to pave way for an independent state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Apart from men, participants included elderly as well as young women, some even holding their babies.

“One slogan one flag, foreign forces go back,” they shouted, holding flags of their respective organisation and Azad Jammu and Kash­mir as well as placards inscribed with different slogans.

“If Pakistan is sincere to the Kashmiris, it should make Azad Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) one unit,” read one placard.

The participants had also brought a document, author­­ed by chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Peoples’ National Alliance (JKPNA) Zulfiqar Ahmed, to be delivered to the UN observers.

However, they became angry and started chanting “Shame on UNO” when they were told by the administration that the UN observers were not present at their camp office at the moment. They also torched copies of the memorandum at the barricade set up by police and army personnel before the entrance of military installation.

Roohi Arshad, one of the participants, said they had staged the rally to give a message to New Delhi and Islamabad to vacate their parts of Kashmir to bring an end to the sufferings of Kashmiris. She said India had been torturing and killing Kashmiris, but Pakistan was merely paying lip service to them.

JKPNA leader Sardar Liaquat Hayat maintained that the narrative of the Kashmiris was missing at the moment when the narratives of Pakistan and India were being propagated on both sides of the divide.

“If we want the international community to support us, we will have to advance our own narrative,” he said, asking the Kashmiris on both sides of the divide “to neither associate themselves with Pakistan nor with India. Instead they should strive for their emergence as an independent nation”.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2019



Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...
Updated 24 May, 2022

Marching in May

MORE unrest. That is the forecast for the weeks ahead as the PTI formally proceeds with its planned march on...
24 May, 2022

Policy rate hike

THE State Bank has raised its policy rate by 150bps to 13.75pc, hoping that its latest monetary-tightening action...
24 May, 2022

Questionable campaign

OVER the past couple of days, a number of cases have been registered in different parts of the country against...