The day is observed as a commitment by people of Pakistan to extend their moral, political and diplomatic support to their Kashmiri brethren for their just right to self determination as envisaged in the UN resolutions. The day is also observed to commemorate the brutal killing incident of 55 innocent Kashmiri civilians in Srinagar. In 1990, after Indian authorities forced the Kashmiri puppet Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to resign and enforced “Governor Rule” in 10K, Mr. Jagmohan Malhotra was appointed as new Governor of the state on 19 January 1990. Mr. Jagmohan, unleashed a new reign of terror. On night of January 20, Indian troops molested several women in Srinagar during house searches and raids. As the word about the molestation of the women spread in the morning, thousands of people took to the streets in the city to protest against the brutal crime of the troops. The occupation forces under the directions of new governor, resorted to indiscriminate firing on the protesters in Gaw Kadal area of the city, killing over 50 people and injuring hundreds of others. The January 21 mass killing of the people, is one of the worst massacres of the Kashmir history.

The incident caused a nation-wide resentment in Pakistan owing to their natural affinity with the Kashmiri brethren. A complete strike in Pakistan was observed on 5 February 1990 and people of Pakistan showed their solidarity with the people of Kashmir. The strike was also a reminder to the international community to take cognizance of the Indian atrocities and inhuman behavior in Kashmir. In the following year, the government of Pakistan announced to officially observe 5 February as Kashmir Solidarity Day. Since then the day is observed every year when Pakistani public renew their pledge of solidarity with the Kashmiri people.

Pakistani government as well as the Pakistani people have always stood by their commitment on the issue of Kashmir. Pakistan’s domestic as well as foreign policy has always been directed towards resolution of Kashmir issue as per the aspirations of Kashmiri people. The cause of Kashmir stands at the highest priority for Pakistan. On international fora including the UN as well as its agencies and the Human Rights Organizations of the world, Pakistan has always advocated the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir vehemently.

On the contrary, India has always denied the right of freedom to the innocent Kashmiri masses and tried to suppress their voice through extra-judicialImass killings, arbitrary arrests, ruthless and inhuman torture and sexual molestation using the instrument of Indian security forces. According to statistics, in last twenty four years 93,979 innocent Kashminis have been martyred, 1,07,466 children orphaned, 10,084 women raped and 7,014 Kashmiris have been killed in custody. The discovery of unidentified mass graves in Kashmir is also another darkest chapter of human rights violations in 10K. In defiance to all international humanitarian laws, India is still continuing with its oppressive policies.

Observance of 5 February stands as a milestone which signifies that Kashmiris are not alone in their genuine struggle for the right of selfdetermination.

The writer is a freelance columnist.