MUZAFFARABAD: Kashmiris chain themselves and cover their faces as they take part in a protest, on Saturday.—AFP
MUZAFFARABAD: Kashmiris chain themselves and cover their faces as they take part in a protest, on Saturday.—AFP

• AJK, GB assemblies pass resolutions
• President, PM, services chiefs express solidarity
• OIC calls for revoking actions taken since 2019

MUZAFFARABAD: Pak­istan has vehemently rejected India’s “unilateral actions” in held Kashmir as the nation on Saturday marked the fourth year since New Delhi’s action to revoke the region’s special status.

Observed as Youm-i-Istehsal (Day of Exploitation), the day saw several rallies across the country in which participants vowed to continue the struggle for the right of self-determination for Kashmiris. In their messages, political and military leadership, and the Muslim world censured India for its wanton human rights violations in held Kashmir.

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly termed India’s move “an atrocious assault on Muslim majority state’s distinct political, cultural and religious identity” as it called upon New Delhi to withdraw the unilateral action.

The AJK’s highest representative forum also unanimously passed six resolutions at its special session convened to mark Aug 5 as the Day of Exploitation of Kashmiris.

The resolutions demanded India withdraw its “arbitrary, unilateral and unlawful actions” taken on and after Aug 5, 2019. They were in “sheer disregard and violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions which declare [held Kashmir] a disputed territory whose fate has to be decided by its inhabitants through a free, fair and impartial UN-sponsored plebiscite.”

While expressing serious concern over the threats to political and human rights activists facing incarcerations and house arrests in the region, the assembly also condemned the recent provocative statements by India’s political and military leadership, including attacking Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the session, AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwarul Haq said being a representative forum of the entire state of Kashmir, the AJK legislature reflected the sentiments and feelings of the Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control.

He expressed serious concern over issuing domiciles to non-Kashmiris to settle in the region and said the UN must intervene to stop it forthwith.

Reiterating his government’s commitment to the Kashmir cause, Mr Haq vowed that all available resources would be used for this purpose.

He suggested that a representative delegation of the AJK-based Kashmiri leadership should meet the envoys of the P-5 countries — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US — in Islamabad and apprise them of the concerns and apprehensions of the Kashmiris.

Following the session, PM Haq, assembly members, ministers, government officials and political activists marched towards the UN military observers’ mission where they submitted a memorandum.

Rallies and demonstrations were also held on both sides of the Line of Control to observe Aug 5 as ‘Black Day’, according to APP.

In Azad Kashmir, processions were held in all 10 districts and tehsil headquarters including the capital Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Kotli, Bhimbher, Bagh Rawalakot, Palandri, Neelam valley, Haveili and Jhelum districts.

The speakers called upon the international human rights organisations, and the UN to take notice of India’s “brutal tactics” against the innocent population in held Kashmir.

Civil, military leaders express solidarity

In their messages, the president, prime minister, army chief and other political leaders expressed their resolve to continue the support for Kashmiris.

President Arif Alvi said India unleashed its illegal actions in held Kashmir after Aug 2019. The measures taken four years ago were “designed to permanently occupy the disputed territory”.

He added the indomitable courage of the Kashmiri people has enabled them to withstand every Indian attempt to terrorise and subjugate them.

India’s continued denial of the rights of Kashmiri people is wrongful and illegal and no amount of diplomatic duplicity or Indian state-perpetrated terror can change this fact.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan rejected all the unilateral and illegal actions taken by India and vowed to continue extending unwavering diplomatic, moral and political support to Kashmiris in their struggle.

In a post on social media platform X, the prime minister called upon India to reverse its post-Aug 5 actions. “Today marked the completion of four years since India deprived Kashmiris of their statehood by unilaterally annexing the [held Kashmir].”

The military leadership also expressed solidarity with the “brave and resilient people” of held Kashmir in their just struggle for the right to self-determination according to the UN resolutions, according to a statement issued by ISPR.

The continued inhumane military lockdown, illegal measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory and the gross and systematic transgressions of human rights were all manifest violations of international law, ISPR added.

The Pakistan armed forces pay rich tribute to the martyrs in the region for “their supreme sacrifices” and affirm full political, moral and humanitarian support.

GB assembly passes resolution

The Gilgit-Baltistan assembly also observed a Black Day on Saturday and unanimously passed a resolution condemning India’s illegal and unconstitutional revoking the held Kahsmir’s special status.

The resolution was tabled by Amjad Hussain Advocate, Deputy Speaker Sadia Danish, GB Finance Minister Muhammad Ismail, and other leaders.

The resolution said India’s actions violated international laws, including the UN Security Council resolutions that call for a free and impartial plebiscite in the region. It emphasised the need for the right to self-determination for Kashmiris.

Separately, events, rallies and demonstrations were held in Tank, Sukkur, Dera Ismail Khan, Jamshoro, Shaheed Benazirabad, Mardan, Gilgit, Muzaffargarh and Sargodha.

OIC condemns India

The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has reiterated its call for the revocation of all the illegal measures initiated on and after Aug 5, 2019, aimed at changing the demography of held Kashmir.

In a press statement issued from the OIC Secretariat in Jeddah, the organisation renewed solidarity with Kashmiris in their quest for the right of self-determination.

The OIC expressed concerns over the situation in the valley four years after the unilateral alteration of the internationally recognised disputed territory.

The Pakistani missions in Moscow and Kyiv also organised events and expressed solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

Jamil Nagri in Gilgit also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2023



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