ISLAMABAD - Pakistanis and the Kashmiris across the world will observe Youm-e-Istehsal (day of exploitation) today (August 5) to condemn the illegal merger of Occupied Kashmir into the Indian territory last year.

In Islamabad, Pakistan renamed its major Kashmir Highway as Srinagar Highway in order to show solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir ahead of Youm-e-Istehsal.

The direction boards on Dhokari Chowk, Faizabad, Zero Point, Golra Chowk and Express Highway have also been changed to replace Kashmir Highway with Srinagar Highway name. The Srinagar highway will be officially inaugurated today (August 5).

Last week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said Pakistan will observe Youm-e-Istehsal on August 5 to protest against the illegal merger of Kashmir into the Indian territory.

Last year on August 5, India repealed articles 35A and 370 of its Constitution, revoking special status granted to the held Kashmir.

Qureshi said: “The RSF (extremist) government has divided the State of Jammu and Kashmir into three parts. They did it forcefully but the Kashmiris didn’t accept it. The Hindu pandits disapproved of it, along with Buddhists in Ladakh, Muslims in the valley.”

Kashmir, he said, was an internationally-recognized disputed area, the government of Indian PM Narendra Modi tried to make Kashmir its part and now was seeking to change the demographics of the Muslim-majority area too.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has more than 120 engagements on Kashmir and “it is not a small thing,” Qureshi remarked.

“I have written nine litters on the plight of Kashmiris, and three times it was discussed in the UN Security Council session after 55 years,” he claimed. “Our stance has been the same, but no one was listening to them and now they are because of Imran Khan,” he added.

According to the planned events in connection with August 5, one minute silence will be observed across the country to give message of peace on this day, followed by a solidarity march in Islamabad as well as provincial capitals. A memorandum will be presented to the UN Observers Mission.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the Azad Kashmir Assembly to give Kashmiris the message of solidarity and let them know they are not alone in their just right of achieving freedom from illegal occupation of India.

A recent survey said more than 90 percent of college and university students surveyed in Indian-held Kashmir want a complete withdrawal of Indian forces from the region.

Approximately 600 college and university students were part of the survey conducted by researchers from a university in Kashmir and New York’s Skidmore College in the wake of New Delhi’s decision to revoke the Muslim-majority region’s special status last August.

Fearing a backlash to the revocation, India rushed tens of thousands of additional troops to the region in addition to the more than 500,000 soldiers already stationed there and again suspended internet, which was restored after a long break.