ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday reaffirmed Pakis­tan’s support to the people of Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) in their struggle for self-determination.

On the occasion of the Accession to Pakistan Day, not only the government but opposition leaders also expressed solidarity and support to the people of occupied Kashmir.

“Kashmiris’ right of self-determination is recognised by the United Nations Security Council as well as international laws. We will continue to fight for justice for Kashmiris as they struggle against the brutal & illegal actions of the Hindutva Supremacist Indian government in IOJK,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

“Today we commemorate the historic occasion of Youm-i-Ilhaq-i-Pakistan, when Kashmiris passed a resolution for accession to Pakistan,” he said. “We reaffirm our commitment to the Kashmiri people and stand with them in their struggle for self-determination.”

President Dr Arif Alvi said, in a message, the time was not far away when the sacrifices of the people of the IOJK would come to fruition and they would accede to Pakistan.

In his message to the nation on Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day, observed on July 19 every year, the president said the day was meant to reiterate the resolve of the Kashmiri people to get deliverance from the Indian oppression and accede to Pakistan.

The day is observed to commemorate the unanimous adoption of a resolution by the Kashmiri leaders for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan during a meeting of the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference in the Aabi Guzar area of Srinagar on July 19, 1947.

The president said India had been illegally occupying the IOJK and making Kashmir people subject to inhuman torture.

He said Pakistan had been highlighting Indian cruelties in held Kashmir at every international forum and even voices were being raised globally against human rights abuses in IOJK.

The president said India had been violating the UN Security Council’s resolutions recognising the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. Indian government’s actions to change the demography of the territory were also the violations of these resolutions, he added.

The president urged the international community to play its role for implementation of the UN resolutions.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said July 19 marked the day when “true representatives of Jammu and Kashmir adopted a historic resolution for accession to Pakistan”.

“Despite decades of Indian occupation, resolve of the Kashmiris and their immutable bond [with Pakistan] stands strong,” he said in a statement, adding that the country “reaffirms unwavering support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle for freedom”.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said the world “must know that no other people have suffered as much as the Kashmiris have for demanding their UN-sanctioned right to self-determination”. “Every Pakistani was, is and will continue standing with the Kashmiris during their legal, democratic and democratic struggle,” he said in a message.

“Kashmiri belongs to the Kashmiris just as Palestine belongs to the Palestinians and England belongs to the English,” he said, adding that the freedom of Kashmir and India’s failure to suppress the Kashmiris was an undeniable writing on the wall.

Mr Sharif said the Kashmiris and Pakistanis shared the same destiny and that was why Quaid-i-Azam had declared Kashmir jugular vein of Pakistan. “Indian oppression and brutality cannot force the Kashmiris to surrender their right to their motherland as the Kashmiris have been guarding their commitment to the accession to Pakistan resolution with unimaginable sacrifices till this day,” he added.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari hoped in his message that Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir would end soon. “Indian government has broken all previous records of tyranny and barbarity to suppress freedom movement of the Kashmiris,” he said.

He said Indian barbarity would further strengthen the struggle and commitment of the Kashmiris and India was destined to destruction and humiliation.

Talking about the response of international world, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the world community was not fulfilling its duty and demanded that Kashmir issue should be resolved in the light of UN resolutions.

PPP vice president Senator Sherry Rehman said neither the Kashmiris wanted to become a part of India in 1947, when Pakistan came into being, nor now. “Observance of Accession to Pakistan Day in Kashmir even after 73 years is an open proof of that,” she added.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari paid tribute to the Kashmiri people’s courage, saying “generation after generation of the Kashmiri men, women and children have confronted and resisted Indian occupation, brutality and incarceration”.

Addressing a seminar at National Press Club in Islamabad, Special Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Chairman Shehryar Khan Afridi said Pakistan continued to provide political and diplomatic support to the people of the occupied valley.

He said India was violating international laws in the valley, adding that the world must take notice of it and warn Delhi about the implications of its actions in the region. He urged the United Nations to take notice of Indian atrocities in the occupied valley.

Mr Afridi said he would visit the Line of Control on Eidul Azha as he had done on Eidul Fitr.

On August 5 last year, the Indian government repealed Article 370 of its constitution, stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status. It also divided occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories; one Jammu and Kashmir and the other the Buddhist-dominated high altitude region of Ladakh. The bifurcation of the territory came into effect on October 31 last year.

A strict lockdown and communication blackout has been in place in occupied Kashmir since then, with only partial relief.

In April, amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, the Indian government notified new domicile laws for occupied Kashmir, making an unspecified number of outsiders eligible for residency and jobs.

As many as 25,000 non-locals have been granted domicile certificates in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir since May 18, which local politicians believe is the beginning of a move to change the demographic profile of the region.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2020