Nation reaffirms solidarity with KashmirisPakistan
ISLAMABAD: The Kashmir Solidarity Day was observed across Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Sunday with a pledge to seek a resolution of the issue in accordance with United Nations resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
A minute of silence was observed at 10am across the country.
In the federal capital, members of the Kashmir Committee of the National Assembly, led by MNA Ijazul Haq, visited the offices of the UN and handed over a memorandum to its resident representative.
The memorandum addressed to the UN secretary general called on the world body to ensure that Kashmiris got their right to self-determination.
Rallies, seminars, walks and meetings were held in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Sargodha, Multan, Faisalabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Dera Ismail Khan, Sialkot, Chiniot, Vehari, Sadiqabad, Nawabshah and in various cities in AJK, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Tariq Naqash in Muzaffarabad adds: Kashmiris and Pakistanis formed symbolic human chains at various points linking AJK with Pakistan to express solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir.
The most prominent gathering was held on a bridge over Jhelum river in Kohala, with participants from AJK and neighbouring provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab braving a downpour to manifest the bonds of brotherhood between the Kashmiris and Pakistanis. Public representatives from all four provinces, as well as AJK, participated in the event.
Balochistan Chief Minister’s Adviser on Mines and Minerals Muhammad Khan Lehri, Sindh Minister for Works and Services Imdad Ali Pitafi, KP Food Minister Haji Sikandar Khan Lodhi and Punjab Minister for Labour and Human Resource Raja Ashfaq Sarwar were greeted by AJK Forests Minister Sardar Mir Akbar Khan at the bridge.
Speaking on the occasion, they said that Pakistan would never back out of its political, moral and diplomatic support to the just cause of the Kashmiris.
In Muzaffarabad, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) held a rally on Bank Road, with women and children among the participants. They also formed a symbolic chain to express solidarity with the Kashmiris across the Line of Control.
Member of Legislative Assembly Abdul Rashid Turabi, the AJK JI chief, led funeral prayers in absentia of two men gunned down by Indian troops in Sopore on Saturday.
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and some of his cabinet’s members participated in a big caravan from Chattar that included floats carrying banners and flags, as well as portraits of the victims of pellets and bullets. The procession concluded outside the press club, where Mr Haider inaugurated a roundabout named after slain Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani.
A group of schoolchildren marched from Shaukat Lines to the Burhan Wani Chowk to express solidarity with the young victims of pellet guns in India-held Kashmir.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not fly to Muzaffarabad to address a special joint session of the AJK Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council to mark the day.
The session was addressed by AJK President Sardar Mohammad Masood Khan.
Calling for a peacefully negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue to save the region from a devastating war, he said the “quest for a peaceful solution through dialogue and diplomacy should not be misconstrued as our weakness”.
Prime Minister Haider and federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir also expressed their views.
However, the 10-member opposition, comprising the PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Muslim Conference, boycotted the session and accused the PML-N government of “mocking the word solidarity”.
“Even if the weather was not favourable, the premier should have travelled to Muzaffarabad by road if he really wanted to express solidarity,” PTI lawmaker Abdul Majid Khan said.
He said there was no let-up in Indian brutalities in held Kashmir but the government of Pakistan had lately allowed screening of Indian films in the country.
Protest rallies were held in the district headquarters of Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar, Diamer, Astore and Ghizer.
Addressing rallies in the capital of Balochistan, leaders of various parties said the entire Pakistani nation stood by the people of Kashmir and shared their pain. Rallies were also held in Zhob, Chaman, Dera Murad Jamali, Mastung, Sobatpur, Pishin, Sibi, Jafferabad and Dera Allah Yar.
Jamil Nagri from Gilgit and Saleem Shahid from Quetta also contributed to this report.
Published in Dawn February 6th, 2017