LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and other political parties on Sunday observed black day to condemn the Indian atrocities in the India-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and express solidarity with the Kashmiris living under inhuman curfew for the past 83 days.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar participated in a ceremony at chief minister’s office and launched a campaign to expose the Indian atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris for the last seven decades at the international level.

The chief minister signed a petition and inaugurated ‘One Million Signatures Campaign’ as well as an online signature campaign.

PTI Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry and general secretary Shoaib Siddiqui led a protest demonstration in front of the Lahore Press Club.

Mr Chaudhry said JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman was Narendar Modi’s ‘friend’ and hatching conspiracies in the country. He said Fazlur Rehman was damaging the Kashmir cause. He also criticised the Azad Kashmir prime minister for his recent statement and asked how many times he had urged former prime minister to attack India.

He said Oct 27, 1947 was a sad day when India had launched its military in Kashmir and occupied the territory in violation of the international laws. He said the Kashmiris on both (Pakistan and India) sides of the LOC as well as across the world observed black day.

Mr Siddiqui paid tributes to the Kashmiris for staying resolute against the Indian occupation of Kashmir. He said the Kahsmiris would soon get their land vacated from the Indian forces and demanded that the world should take notice of human rights violations by the Indian forces and the people of Kashmir be given the right to plebiscite according to the UN resolutions.

He said the UN’s recent report confirmed the Indian aggression in occupied Kashmir. He said the Kashmiris had the right to get independence and India be held accountable for killing hundreds and thousands of innocent people.

At the ceremony, the chief minister and participants expressed solidarity with the oppressed people of IOK. The chief minister said the document containing one million signatures would be presented to the UN Human Rights Commission on Dec 10.

Under the auspices of the Punjab information department, the signature campaign would also be run on social media.

The signature ceremonies were also held at the offices of the divisional commissioner and deputy commissioner.

Law minister Basharat Raja who heads the Punjab Kashmir Committee, MPAs Uzma Kardar, Mahinder Pal Singh, Naseer Ahmed, Sajid Ahmed Khan, the principal secretary to CM, the secretary information, the PITB chairman were among others present.

Activists of civil society also organised an event in Faisal Town’s Triangular Park and demanded that the world play its role in stopping genocide of the Kashmiris.

Rallies were also taken out in many other parts of Punjab. In Sialkot, a number of PML-N workers participated in the rally and expressed solidarity with the people of the IOK.

Leading the rally, PML-N leader Khwaja Asif (a former foreign minister) condemned human rights violations in Kashmir. He said Pakistan stood by the oppressed Kashmiris and all the political and religio-political parties were on the same page about the cause.

The district administration also arranged a rally from Sialkot kutchery to Allama Iqbal Chowk.

In Gujrat, Jamaat-i-Islami Emir Senator Sirajul Haq said the PTI’s wrong policy on Kashmir had damaged the cause across the globe. Speaking to a Kashmir rally at Bhimbher (Kashmir) Road, he alleged that the Kashmir issue had been eclipsed in the world media due to the wrong policies of the prime minister. Even the local media was more interested in the politics of containers in Islamabad, he added.

The PML-N leaders and workers took to the street and also prayed for the recovery of Nawaz Sharif in Okara.

Other districts where rallies were taken out included Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala and Toba Tek Singh.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2019