Pakistan is observing Kashmir Solidarity Day on Friday with public rallies being observed across the country to express wholehearted support of the Pakistani nation to the just struggle of Kashmiri people for their inalienable right to self-determination under United Nations resolutions.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan will address a public gathering at Kotli in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, President Arif Alvi also addressed a session of the AJK Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad. He also led a solidarity march alongside AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider and AJK President Sardar Masood Khan.
Solidarity walks were arranged in several other cities and the four provincial capitals whereas human chains were formed at Kohala and other important points linking Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, according to Radio Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led a rally in the capital along with Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.
Talking to reporters during the procession, Qureshi said the media's role in raising voice for Kashmiris was becoming more important by the day.
Addressing the Kashmiris through the media, he assured them of the Pakistani nation' support in their struggle for self-determination.
"We understand that you are suffering from oppression and facing difficulties," Qureshi said. "You will be successful because you are with the truth."
The foreign minister said that India has "always tried to break people's courage [...] but it will fail" in its attempts to oppress the Kashmiris.
Provinces, federation units hold solidarity marches
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also participated in a solidarity walk held in Karachi along with other provincial ministers and government officials. The walk started from the People's Secretariat and will conclude at the Jinnah's mausoleum. The Sindh chief minister condemned Indian brutality in occupied Kashmir and said that the "world's conscience should wake up".
"India has imposed the world's longest curfew in Kashmir," he was quoted as saying by the CM House.
A formal event to observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day was held in Quetta at the Balochistan Assembly, where Chief Minister Jam Kamal and other provincial lawmakers formed a human chain by linking their hands together.
Addressing the ceremony, CM Kamal said that the Pakistani government will continue to raise its voice for the Kashmiris on every forum.
He said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is no different from Trump", the former US president who, Kamal said, "was rejected because of his negative policies".
In Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan led a march from CM House to Governor House. The walk was also attended by provincial lawmakers and other officials.
Rallies and gatherings were also held in Gilgit Baltistan, where government officials addressed the public.
Lawmaker Obaidullah Baig, while addressing a public meeting at Itehad Chowk, said that the people of GB will always stand with the Kashmiris and raise their voice for the latter's right to self-determination. He also called for an end to Indian brutality in the occupied region.
GB Finance Minister Javed Hussain Manwa, in his address, extended support for "all movements by innocent people" and added: "The Kashmiri brothers in Muzaffarabad [should] not raise objections over constitutional rights to make Gilgit Baltistan stronger.
"The provision of constitutional rights to Gilgit Baltistan will strengthen [Pakistan's] stance on the Kashmir issue."
One minute silence was also observed to show solidarity with the Kashmiris at the end of the gathering.
PM, president issue messages
Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi in their messages today condemned the oppression of Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and called upon the international community to play its part in ensuring that the residents of the region are granted the right to self-determination.
"Denial of this right and subjugation of Kashmiris is the very negation of human dignity," Radio Pakistan quoted the president as saying.
President Alvi further said that the "demographic apartheid" in occupied Kashmir, under which the "Kashmiris' majority is being turned into a minority", is a violation of the international law.
"Your freedom from clutches of illegal Indian occupation is not far," the president declared in a tweet posted on the President of Pakistan's official account.
He also addressed the international community and said: "You must intervene and be on right side of history by fulfilling your promise of plebiscite in line with UN resolutions to restore peace in Kashmir."
The prime minister, in a statement issued by his office, termed the realisation of Kashmiris' "legitimate and inalienable" right to self determination as "indispensable for durable peace and security in South Asia".
He also expressed "unshakable" solidarity with the Kashmiri people and condemned India's "brutal suppression" of the occupied region. He once again urged the international community to "hold India accountable for its crimes against humanity in IIOJK".
The premier also issued a message through his personal Twitter account, saying that Pakistan had always supported the Kashmiris in their struggle for the right to self-determination but the "onus of creating an enabling environment lies with India".
He said that despite seven decades of Indian oppression of the occupied region, its residents had continued their struggle.
The premier once again said that Pakistan would "take two steps forward for peace" but only "if India demonstrates sincerity in seeking a just solution to the Kashmir issue".
"But let no one mistake our desire for stability & peace as a sign of weakness," he warned. "Rather, it is because of our strength and confidence as a nation that we are prepared to go the extra mile to ensure a just peace that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people."
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also issued a message for the occupied region's residents:
"Salute to Kashmiris for their valiant struggle, braving gravest atrocities, human rights violations and lockdown in IIOJ&K under Indian occupation forces. Time to end this human tragedy and resolve Kashmir issue as per aspirations of people of J&K and UN resolutions."
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi paid tribute to the "just struggle of our Kashmiri family" against the Indian forces and said: "No level of blackout and censorship can silence the strong, unflinching resilience of Kashmiris' in the face of such unspeakable atrocities by the rogue Indian state."
He vowed that Pakistan would "never relent" its support for the Kashmiris' right to self determination.
"Kashmir is for the Kashmiris," he declared. The foreign minister added that the incumbent Indian administration of Narendra Modi, which is "busy fortifying [its] policy of hate, censure and repression across India, Kashmir and beyond", cannot silence the world.
"Each day fascist Indian regime wakes up to int’l condemnation of their brutal campaigns at every global forum and in every headline," he said.
On Thursday night, AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider called upon Islamabad to "sever diplomatic ties with India and pull out of all bilateral treaties to force international community to swing into action".