ISLAMABAD: As Kashmiris in the occupied valley and across the world observed ‘Kashmir Martyrs Day’ on Monday, Pakistan reaffirmed its support for the movement for the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation.
The National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution “condemning” Indian atrocities in India-held Kashmir and vowed to continue “political and diplomatic support” of the Kashmiris’ legitimate struggle for freedom.
Through the resolution read out by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, the house called upon the United Nations and the world to take steps to stop India from genocide in the occupied valley.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while paying tribute to Kashmiri martyrs on the ‘89th Yaum-i-Shuhada-i-Kashmir (Kashmir Martyrs’ Day)’ said: “Pakistan has always stood steadfast for the Kashmiri right to self-determination and will continue to support this just struggle till IOJK is liberated from the clutches of Indian illegal occupation. That day is not far”.
The Kashmir Martyrs’ Day is observed on July 13 to commemorate the first mass uprising against Dogra rulers of Kashmir in July 1931. The protests had started over the ban on Eid sermons and desecration of the Holy Quran. They turned bloody on July 13 (1931) with 22 youth being gunned down by Dogra soldiers.
Mr Khan described the martyrs of 1931 slaughter as the “forefathers of today’s Kashmiri resistance”.
The prime minister, in a reference to the current phase of the uprising, said: “Their descendants have, generation after generation, laid down their lives for freedom and today they continue to valiantly fight and defy a Hindutva Supremacist regime bent on demographic engineering to wipe out the Kashmiri people and their identity”.
A marked spike in human rights violations by Indian forces has been reported since the valley was annexed by India in August last year.
This year the Indian government canceled the public holiday in the Valley in connection with the anniversary of the event. The official ceremony at the martyrs’ graveyard at Nawhatta Srinagar inside Khawaja Naqashband shrine has also been canceled.
President Dr Arif Alvi on this occasion said Pakistan would continue its diplomatic, political and moral support for Kashmiris who have been under illegal occupation of Indian armed forces for long.
In a statement, the president urged the world community to intervene into the matter and force India to give the right of self-determination to the people of occupied Kashmir.
“The day is not far away when Kashmiris will enjoy freedom,” he added.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, meanwhile, in his tweet said the courage of 22 slain Kashmiris in face of brutal Dogra forces galvanised a decades-old struggle for self-determination in 1931 — an inalienable right for which Kashmiris continue to die for to this day.
“No occupation can subjugate spirit of brave Kashmir,” he asserted.
“Today, every child in Pakistan and all the political and defence leadership is standing with you in your struggle for self-determination and will continue standing with you until it is achieved.”
He added that the premier had raised the issue of Kashmir on every international forum, saying that he realised that “some of Pakistan’s allies could not raise their voices [on Kashmir] because of their economic conditions”.
“The world community remained silent when thousands of people were killed in Serbia. Will it repeat the same mistake in occupied Kashmir?” he questioned, adding that the world must learn from the massacre.
The foreign minister said India was being “exposed” in front of the world as shown by the recent clash between India and China in Ladakh.
He urged the entire Muslim ummah to become the voice of the people in occupied Kashmir and to use social media to make their voices heard “even in parts of the world that have gone deaf”.
Foreign Office in a statement on the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day said Indian forces stationed in Occupied Kashmir were no less brutal than the Dogra force as they have martyred hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris and grievously hurt millions of families there.
“Yet, they have failed to break the will of the Kashmiris and weaken their resolve to secure freedom from Indian occupation,” it emphasised.
The FO said India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019 for erasing the distinct identity of the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir further fortified the Kashmiris’ quest for freedom and self-determination and lent even greater poignancy to the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day.
The FO once again called upon the international community to act to stop India from the continuing brutalisation of the Kashmiri people, including extra-judicial killings and illegal attempts, to change the demographic structure of IOJ&K.
“India must be held accountable for its unspeakable crimes against the Kashmiri people,” it added.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, in a tweet, said the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day was “reminiscent of utmost price paid for freedom by brave Kashmiris”.
He said “decades of Indian atrocities failed to suppress insurmountable spirit & legitimate freedom struggle” of the Kashmiris, which was “destined to succeed”.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said 22 martyred Kashmiris in 1931 had “written a history of bravery”.
“Despite intensification of violence post-August 5 by India, Kashmiris of all ages & across genders are challenging Modi’s fascism today with their blood. They are hope of future!” he tweeted.
Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2020