MUZAFFARABAD: People across Pakistan and the divided state of Jammu and Kashmir marked the third anniversary of India’s illegal action of revoking the special status of occupied Kashmir as “Exploitation [of Kashmir] Day” by holding anti-India demonstrations and other events.
In their messages, President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari paid glowing tributes to the struggling Kashmiris for their supreme sacrifices for their noble cause and reiterated that Pakistan would not only continue to be their voice but would also extend them all possible support for the fullest realisation of their legitimate rights.
They urged the international community in general and the UN in particular to address the festering issue in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the aspirations of Kashmiris for the sake of lasting peace.
In UN headquarters, the OIC General Secretariat on Friday reminded India that its Aug 5, 2019, illegal action could not alter the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir.
President, PM reiterate support for Kashmiris’ legitimate rights; OIC says Delhi’s illegal action cannot alter disputed status of Kashmir
In a statement distributed in the UN headquarters, the OIC reiterated its earlier calls for implementing UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, which recognise the right of the Kashmiri people to decide their own future.
In his message, President Alvi said: “India’s actions of Aug 5, 2019, contravene several UN Security Council resolutions which stipulated that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people through a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.”
PM Sharif said that the Indian government, under the hold of the BJP-RSS combine, was unabashedly pushing its ‘Hindutva’ agenda to alter the demographic structure of occupied Kashmir in a blatant violation of the Security Council resolutions and international laws, including the 4th Geneva Convention. “India’s settler-colonialism mindset is driven by its quest to permanently occupy the disputed territory and to obliterate its distinct Kashmiri identity.”
He noted that India had turned occupied Kashmir into the largest prison on the planet, where there was no let-up in brutal repression of the innocent Kashmiri people, including arbitrary arrests and indiscriminate extra-judicial killings. “As expected, the Kashmiri people have valiantly defied the Indian campaign of brutalisation against them. Pakistan has lent all possible support to the Kashmiris in pursuit of their just cause. India stands exposed before the world, yet again, as an aggressor and oppressor,” he said.
“In fact, the world community must press India to halt its human rights abuses, reverse demographic changes and India’s illegal actions of Aug 5, 2019 in occupied Kashmir to enable the Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination through the immediate implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.”
Pointing out India had thrashed the UNSC resolutions by changing Article 370 and repealing Article 35A, Mr Bhutto-Zardari urged the UN to play its part to get the Kashmiris their internationally acknowledged rights.
On Friday, the Senate of Pakistan also offered Fateha, which was led by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, for the Kashmiris martyred by Indian occupation forces.
In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) the main event was a public meeting and a charged rally in Muzaffarabad, organised by Pasban-i-Hurriyat Jammu Kashmir (PHJK), an organisation of post-1989 migrants from occupied Kashmir.
The rally which was taken out after the conclusion of the public meeting at Burhan Wani Chowk ended outside the UN military observers’ office, where participants torched a large Indian tricolour flag before presenting a memorandum to UN officials.
Earlier, speaking at the public meeting, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas said that India’s Aug 5, 2019, move was a deep-rooted conspiracy aimed at eroding the special identity, culture and traditions of the occupied territory on the one hand and changing its demography to turn majority Muslim population into minority on the other.
Former AJK premier Raja Farooq Haider said the “silence of the government of Pakistan was causing unrest among the Kashmiris on both sides of the divide”.
Earlier, at 9am, one-minute silence was observed across AJK and Pakistan to pay tributes to valiant Kashmiris, followed by special prayers for the success of their struggle for emancipation.
Anwar Iqbal in Washington also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2022