ISLAMABAD: Youm-e-Istehsal was observed across Pakistan Friday to mark the completion of the third year of Indian military siege of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and denounce an illegal and immoral step to end its special status. A series of activities, including seminars and conferences, to mark the day were held in the federal capital, like the rest of the country, to express solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiri people while rallies were also staged with participation of people from all walks of life. The whole nation expressed solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren and sisters and announced their support to them in their just struggle for the right to independence and against atrocities committed by the Indian forces.
The Kashmiri people on both sides of the Line of Control and all over the world also observed Youm-e-Istehsal to condemn the illegal step taken by India on August 5, 2019. Activists of all political parties of the country lodged their protest against Indian state terrorism against innocent and unarmed people of IIoJ&K through rallies and other activities.
Civil society organisations also arranged seminars and other programs to highlight gross human rights violations against the Kashmiri people. One-minute silence was also observed across the capital at 08:59am. The traffic was also come to a halt on three points in the federal capital, including Express Chowk Signal, Ayub Chowk and Faisal Avenue Chowk to express solidarity with Kashmiris.
Meanwhile, posters and billboards were displayed on main roads of Islamabad and other provincial capitals to highlight the plight of Kashmiri people and expose Indian atrocities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released a song, “Jalta Hai Kashmir.” A rally was taken out from Foreign Office on the Constitution Avenue. Speaking to the participants at D-Chowk, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan’s commitment with Kashmir was everlasting and it would never dilute because of the internal situation. Adviser on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira said the Kashmiri people had been facing Indian atrocities over the last seven decades and sacrificed over 100,000 lives.
Lok Virsa in collaboration with the Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan arranged special programmes to mark the day. On August 5, 2019, the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government had struck down articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which granted Kashmir a special status.
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Khan, paying rich tribute to those who laid down their lives in the freedom movement of Pakistan and Kashmir, reiterated Pakistani support to Kashmiri people in their freedom struggle against India. Addressing an “An Exclusive Talk” organised by Islamic International University Islamabad (IIUI), the minister said India had violated United Nation’s resolutions and tried to eliminate the special status of IIOJ&K. “However, India would never succeed in suppressing the indigenous freedom movement of the Kashmir people,” he added.
He thanked the Saudi government and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman for their generosity and timely support to Pakistan. “Pakistan is moving forward and would soon overcome all challenges,” he added.
In a message, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the international community must demand an end to India’s gross and widespread human rights violations in IIOJ&K. He also demanded the reversal of unilateral and illegal actions of August 5, 2019, repeal of draconian laws and implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.
The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called upon the international community to take concrete steps for the resolution of the dispute in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The OIC Secretariat called for respect of the Kashmiris’ fundamental right to freedom and basic human rights and also urged reversal of all illegal and unilateral measures taken on or after August 5, 2019.
Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu said Pakistan would always stand by its Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for freedom. In his message, he said that for the sake of fairness, justice and human dignity, it was imperative that the international community should come forward with practical steps to force India to reverse its present course against the Kashmiri people.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry said despite its tactics India has miserably failed to suppress the Kashmiris spirit and their legitimate struggle for the right to self-determination. Addressing a press conference, he termed the August move 5 of the Indian government an atrocious assault on the Kashmiris’ identity.
Protest demonstrations, processions and rallies were held across Azad Kashmir to mark the day. The main protest rally was organised in Muzaffarabad, which was led by Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan and former Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan. Attended by people from different walks of life, the rally was addressed by representatives of social, political and religious parties and members of civil society. The rally started from the Old Secretariat and culminated peacefully at Alamdar Chowk.
Addressing the rally, Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan said India’s August 5, 2019, move was a deep-rooted conspiracy aimed at depriving Occupied Kashmir of its special status and changing its demography. The rally was also addressed by former AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, Minister for Planning and Development Chaudhry Muhammad Rasheed, Chief Secretary and others.
Acting Sindh Governor Agha Siraj Durrani has said the people of IIOJ&K had been deprived of their basic rights including freedom of speech. In a message, he said India had turned the valley into a jail.
Mushaal Hussein Mullick, Peace and Culture Organisation chairperson and wife of jailed Hurriyat leader Mohammad Yasin Malik, said the Indian government had provided six million illegal domiciles of IIOJ&K to Hindus. In a video message, she said in order to occupy the land of the Kashmiris, India had sent millions of people to the valley.
Talking to the media at his native town, Qamar Zaman Kaira said India wanted to crush the spirit of freedom of the Muslims of Occupied Kashmir.
Rallies were also in Sukkur, Khairpur, Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Dadu, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Mirpurkhsa, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Jamshoro, Badin, Thatta, Umarkot, Tando Allahayr and other cities to mark the day.
Meanwhile, senators condemned India’s policy of repressions in IIOJ&K and suppression of the people of the valley. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Dr Zarqa Taimur urged the government to take concrete and effective steps in resolving the Kashmir dispute instead of mere holding protest demonstrations and chanting slogans.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) legislator Mian Raza Rabbani strongly condemned the revocation of the special status of Kashmir and human violations in the valley. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed paid glowing tributes to Kashmiri freedom fighters and Shuhada. He said Pakistan would always support the Kaskmiris at every forum for winning the right to self-determination.
JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said the government should formulate a comprehensive plan to support the Kashmiris for their cause and the plan should be implemented in letter and spirit. Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman apprised the House that the Foreign Office had told her that Pakistani journalist Anas Malik, who went missing in Kabul, was safe.
PTI Senator Faisal Javed called upon international human rights organisations, including the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), to take action against Narendra Modi’s government for human rights violations in the valley. He urged all political parties to support the Kashmir cause and pledge raising their voice at every global forum, including the United Nation.