YOUTH Forum for Kashmir activists stage a rally at Shimla Pahari Chowk to express solidarity with the Kashmiris and mark one year of India’s siege of held Kashmir. — White Star / M. Arif
YOUTH Forum for Kashmir activists stage a rally at Shimla Pahari Chowk to express solidarity with the Kashmiris and mark one year of India’s siege of held Kashmir. — White Star / M. Arif

LAHORE: Ruling and opposition parties, religious, academic, entertainment and working class took out separate processions in the city on Wednesday to express solidarity with the Kashmiris and mark one year of India’s siege in the disputed valley.

Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar led a rally from Governor House to Faisal Chowk to observe Youm-i-Istehsal-i-Kashmir. Anthems of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were played and sirens blared in solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir (IHK). The participants also formed a human chain at Faisal Chowk and chanted slogans of “Kashmir will become Pakistan”.

Provincial ministers Dr Yasmin Rashid, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Malik Nauman Langrial, Akhtar Malik, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Central Punjab President Ejaz Chaudhry and MPAs participated in the rally.

Addressing the participants, CM Buzdar announced naming of one road in each division as Srinagar Road. He paid tribute to the struggle of Kashmiris against Indian subjugation. “We cannot back off from the core issue of Kashmir,” he stressed.

Governor Sarwar said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi violated the UN resolutions on this day last year and all human rights by illegally revoking the special status of IHK. He said the government would continue to expose Indian obstinacy on every forum. He said minorities were living in continued fear and misery in India, while in Pakistan all minorities were enjoying full freedom.

Mr Chaudhry said the Kashmiris were laying their lives for self-determination as well as facing brutalities of the Indian forces. He demanded the world community take notice of the Indian forces’ brutalities and illegal siege in the valley.

PTI Central Punjab Deputy Information Secretary Khwaja Aamer Raza said the government would advocate and advance the cause of Kashmiris on every international forum. “Louder we will support the cause of Kashmir freedom as every Kashmiri shouts freedom and freedom,” he said.

PML-N: At the PML-N’s rally outside the press club, Khwaja Saad Rafique said the government should take practical steps to fight the Kashmir case instead of paying lip service. He said the Modi government was building Ram Mandir at the place of Babri Masjid and the government was busy fighting the opposition here.

He said the PML-N was being pushed to the wall, adding that the man (Nawaz Sharif) who made former Indian premier Vajpayee come to Lahore for peace and strongly fought the Kashmir case was mistreated and sent in exile. “We should learn a lesson from history and instead of indulging in infighting should unite to become the voice of Kashmiris,” he said.

Other leaders Shaista Pervaiz, Imran Nazir, Ghazali Butt, Hafiz Nauman and Rabia Farooqi also spoke at the rally.

PPP: Led by Chaudhry Manzoor, Azizur Rehman Chan, Israr Butt and others, the PPP took out a rally where the leaders said whenever the party had come into power, it had highlighted the Kashmir issue.

They said late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had presented Kashmiris’ stance in an unprecedented way. Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would lead the Kashmir freedom movement to success. They regretted that the incumbent rulers could not mobilise even the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) when India revoked the special status of IHK a year ago.

Mr Manzoor earlier told a news conference that the government claimed it had managed to isolate India in the world, but Islamabad could not get even 17 votes at the UN to move a resolution against New Delhi’s unconstitutional measure of revoking IHK’s status.

ULEMA: Muttahida Ulema Board Chairman Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi and Coordinator Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi supported the issuance of new political map of the country and condemned Indian attempts to change demographic composition of Kashmir.

They also urged the OIC to openly support the Kashmiris’ freedom movement and lamented that over eight million Kashmiris were robbed of their right to health, education and worship, but the world was overlooking their ordeal.

PML-Q: The PML-Q took out a procession from Muslim League House to Punjab Assembly where its Punjab General Secretary Kamil Ali Agha said no matter how much India oppressed the held valley, the sacrifices of Kashmiris would get them freedom. “There can be no compromise on the freedom of Kashmir.”

The UN and international human rights organisations should pressure the Indian government to stop oppression of the Kashmiri people. PML-Q Punjab Senior Vice President Salim Baryaar, Mian Munir, Mian Imran Masood, Khwaja Waqar, Rasheed Booti, Zulfiqar Pappan, Omar Shaikh, Zulfiqar Ghumman, and MPA Khadeeja Farooqui also spoke on the occasion.

ARTISTES: Kashmir Exploitation Day was also observed by the Lahore Arts Council wherein artistes walked and observed a minute of silence.

Leading actors, officers and employees of Alhamra participated in a procession from Governor House to Faisal Chowk and chanted slogans in favour of Kashmiris.

The participants wore black armbands and waved Kashmiri flags.

The procession was attended by singers Naheed Akhtar, Hamid Ali Khan, Tarranum Naz, actor Rashid Mahmood, director Hassan Askari, comedian Naseem Vicky and others.

Information Secretary Raja Jahangir Anwar, Public Relations Director General Dr Aslam Dogar and Lahore Arts Council Executive Director Saman Rai also participated.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTES: The Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA) organised a procession from the undergraduate block to the vice chancellor’s (VC) office.

Punjab University (PU) VC Prof Niaz Ahmad said the nation appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan for launching a new political map of Pakistan to give a strong message to the world that India could not usurp the rights of the people of IHK.

He said the UN and world community must take notice of war crimes being committed by India.

Pro-VC Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar said the Kashmir issue was like a blot on the face of humanity and an unfinished agenda of the division of subcontinent.

PUASA President Prof Dr Mumtaz Anwar Chaudhry said the Kashmir issue must be solved as per the desire of the Kashmiris and UN resolutions.

Earlier, the association organised a seminar and passed a unanimous resolution to condemn India over its human rights violations in IHK and demanded the UN implement its resolutions on the issue.

The University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Teaching Staff Association Executive Body met under the chairmanship of President Dr Fahim Gohar Awan and unanimously passed a resolution to salute the struggle of Kashmiris and condemn Indian oppression.

Dr Awan said the entire nation stood with the Kashmiris. Dr Tanveer Qasim said the hearts of Kashmiri and Pakistani people beat together. Dr Amir Akhlaq said the international community would have to take notice of Indian atrocities.

The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) also organised various activities, including a walk, seminar, documentary screening and prayers for peace in Kashmir. Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad led the walk, while a large number of faculty members, administrative officers and other staff members participated. The walk started from the VC’s office and culminated at the university main gate.

Prof Ahmed said Kashmiri people were facing Indian brutality for 73 years.

WORKERS: Labourers appealed to the world community and the UN to intervene to stop the repression of people of IHK and get a plebiscite held to decide the fate of the Kashmiris in accordance with Security Council resolutions.

These demands were made in a meeting of trade union representatives and workers held at Bakhtiar Labour Hall under the aegis of the All Pakistan Workers Confederation. Confederation Secretary General Khurshid Ahmed declared full support of the working class for the peoples of Kashmir and Palestine.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2020

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