ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday said India is mistaken if it believes it could crush the iron will of Kashmiri people.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other Pakistani leaders expressed such views on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day being observed on Feb 5 (today).

In a related development, the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations at a meeting on Friday discussed collective efforts to promote a just and lasting resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

No amount of state terrorism, unleashed by Indian occupation forces, can break the will of the Kashmiris or undermine their legitimate struggle, Prime Minister Sharif said in a message. He urged India to honour its commitments made to Pakistan, the UN and, above all, to Kashmiris.

“On behalf of the entire Pakistani nation, I want to assure our Kashmiri brothers and sisters that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them. We will continue to lend moral, diplomatic and political support to their just cause, until they attain freedom from Indian oppression,” a press release issued by the PM Office quoted Mr Sharif as saying.

While pointing to suppression of people during India’s continued occupation of Jammu and Kashmir for the last 75 years, he lamented that the already bad situation worsened following Delhi’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019.

OIC panel expresses solidarity

Meanwhile, an informal meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir at the UN — comprising Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkiye — was convened by Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram.

He said despite India’s massive repression Kashmiris were continuing their heroic struggle for the exercise of the right to self-determination, according to a press release issued by the Pakistan mission.

Besides, ambassadors from the OIC member states participated in the virtual commemoration marking the Kashmir Solidarity Day.

Expressing solidarity with Kashmiris were Saudi Ambassador Abdulaziz Alwasil, Azerbaijan envoy Yashar Aliyev, and Turkish Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu.

Call for practical steps

In his message, President Dr Arif Alvi urged the international community to take practical steps to hold India accountable for its gross and widespread human rights violations in India-held Kashmir.

He said presence of more than 900,000 Indian armed personnel had turned the occupied region into an open prison, a press release issued by President Secretariat quoted the president as saying.

Key pillar of foreign policy

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in his message assured “our Kashmiri brothers and sisters that Pakistan will never sit back and watch silently while Kashmiris continue to suffer Indian atrocities”.

The Jammu and Kashmir dispute will remain a key pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy, he said.

With its illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019, India has opened a new chapter in suppressing the people of held Kashmir. With fresh delimitation of electoral constituencies, issuance of millions of domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris, and addition of hundreds of thousands of non-Kashmiris to the voters lists, India’s ruling dispensation aims to transform Kashmiris into a disempowered minority in their own land, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry and Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan said Solidarity Day was the symbol of an everlasting social, cultural and religious relationship between the people of India-held Kashmir and Pakistan.

In a radio podcast, Raziyah Sultana, the daughter of detained Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik, expressed strong resentment over the persecution of children in India-held Kashmir.

She said pellet guns are also being used against Kashmiri children and their parents.

Sultana, who is 10 years old, said it is the mission of her life to protect the Kashmiri children and send them to schools. For this, she sought the support of Pakistani children.

Raziyah Sultan stated she is not scared of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rather, she added, Mr Modi and India are scared of her father Yasin Malik and that is why he has been incarcerated.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2023



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