ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has appealed to the nation to observe Kashmir Solidarity Hour on Friday (today) by coming out on roads from 12noon to 12.30pm to give a message to the world that the Pakistani nation stands by the Kashmiris who have been facing unprecedented human rights violations in India-occupied Kashmir (IOK) amid curfew which has entered the 24th day.
On the call of the prime minister, all education institutions, government and private offices, banks, traders, lawyers and military authorities will take part in Kashmir Solidarity Day events.
Vehicular traffic and government machinery will come to a standstill.
Sirens will be sounded and the national anthem will be played at 12noon across the country. Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend a gathering outside the Prime Minister Office (PMO) and later address the nation from there.
“I want all Pakistanis to come out tomorrow 12noon-12.30pm to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people and send the Kashmiris in IOK a clear message that the entire Pakistani nation stands in solidarity with them and against Indian fascist oppression, the inhumane 24-day curfew,” the prime minister said in his tweet.
PM appeals to people to come out on roads from 12noon to 12.30pm
He said in another tweet: “We must send a strong message to Kashmiris that our nation stands resolutely behind them. So I am asking all Pakistanis for half an hour tomorrow stop whatever you are doing and come out on the road to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people.”
He said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was bent upon “cleansing of Muslims” after revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir through annulling Article 370 of the constitution.
Prime Minister Khan expressed concern over tyranny of Indian armed forces in IOK, saying children and women were also being targeted by Indian troops who are said to be over 900,000 in number.
“The daily injuring and killing of Kashmiri civilians, including women and children - all part of the ethnic cleansing agenda of the Modi government and it’s illegal annexation of IOK. The plan to change demography of IOK is a war crime under 4th Geneva Convention,” he said.
According the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Kashmir day ceremonies will be attended by civil and military officials across the country.
ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor urged the youth, particularly students, to attend the Kashmir Hour events to express solidarity with the people of the held valley.
In the federal capital, the main event will be held outside the Prime Minister Office where a large gathering will be addressed by the prime minister. Earlier a rally would be staged in the city which would become a public meeting outside the PMO, Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat said.
All traffic signals will turn red at 1200 noon and remain so till 12.30pm to halt vehicular traffic. However, ambulances will be allowed to move without any hindrance as one of the lanes of roads will remain clear for emergency services.
Tight security measures will be taken on the occasion and public will not be allowed to proceed into Red Zone (outside the PMO).
Prime Minister Imran met Interior Minister retired Brig Ijaz Shah at the PMO and sought details of security measures.
According to the railways ministry, all trains will stop for one minute and all railway workers will take part in Kashmir Hour events.
Similarly, officials and employees of the National Highway Authority (NHA) will gather at the NHA headquarters and attend a ceremony in which national anthems of Pakistan and Kashmir will be played.
The officials of the secretariat blocks/ministries will gather at R-Block to attend a Kashmir Hour event.
Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2019