LAHORE - Kashmir Day will be observed throughout the country, Azad Jammu Kashmir and across the world among Kashmiri and Pakistani communities with fervour.

The people of held-Kashmir also make efforts to observe the day under death threats and facing extreme actions of the occupational Indian forces.

The day will be public holiday with Punjab Secretariat, educational institutions and others closed down. It is marked by public processions, special prayers in mosques for the liberation of Kashmir, seminars, special sittings and protests against the Indian occupation of Kashmir.

Political parties of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir and religious parties hold processions, rallies, conferences and seminars to highlight the Indian atrocities in the Occupied Kashmir and the brave freedom struggle of Kashmiris with the moral and political support of Pakistanis.

Leaders of political and religious parties, opinion leaders from media, writers and influential public figures will address the public gatherings, seminars, special sittings and lead the rallies in connection with Kashmir Day.

All political parties hold functions with regard to Kashmir Day but prominent among them include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamat-i-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Difa-e-Pakistan member parties, Awami Muslim League, Pakistan Muslim League-Zia and above all parties of Azad Kashmir.

Another common scene on Kashmir Day is the formation of a human chain on all major routes leading to Azad Kashmir from Pakistan. This action symbolises unity and solidarity to assure the Kashmiris that people of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan are with people in Occupied valley in their struggle for freedom.

Special cultural programmess and festivals will be held to promote Kashmiri culture and tradition. News and entertainment channels air special programmes, talk shows, dramas and Kashmiri songs about the oppression and brutalities suffered by Kashmiris over the years. The newspapers will also publish special supplements for Kashmir Day. Educational institutions organize debate competitions and dialogue forums where students express their views and ideas for resolving Kashmiri related issues.

Kashmir Day was first observed in 1990 on the call of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was then Punjab Chief Minister. He appealed for a nationwide strike to protest against the Indian occupation of Kashmir and called for people to pray for the Kashmiri freedom movement’s success. PPP government at Centre then declared February 5 as a public holiday and Kashmir Day has since been observed every year.

Held Kashmir is referred as heaven on earth. The valley is shown in modern art as being engulfed by flames depicting unrest, uproar and peril in heaven. The valley is also shown to be surrounded by a barbed wire drenched in blood. This illustrates human rights violations in Kashmir.

CM MESSAGE: Pakistani nation, including the expatriate community, comes together to reiterate their moral, diplomatic and political support to the people of the Indian-occupied Kashmir on the Kashmir Solidarity Day, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said yesterday.

In his message on the day, the chief minister said that February 5 provides a perfect occasion to pay rich tributes to the Kashmiri people for their unwavering resolve to get their right to self-determination. “It is a day when walks, processions, and seminars are held to highlight the exemplary sacrifices that the Kashmiris are making for their inalienable right to self-determination,” he added.

According to Shahbaz Sharif, the Day also serves as a reminder to the international community to fulfil their promise of giving the Kashmiris the right to determine their political future in accordance with the United Nations resolutions. “In my view, Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the partition,” he added.

CM Shahbaz said that Kashmiris are justified to ask the international community as to why their fundamental rights have not been respected and why they continue to face repression just for demanding what the UN Charter perfectly sanctions.

“Unlocking of South Asia’s natural and human potential is linked to resolution of the Kashmir issue,” said the Punjab CM, adding that durable peace and stability will remain elusive in the absence of conscious efforts of the South Asian countries to seek a negotiated settlement of their issues.

He further stressed that dialogue between India and Pakistan is the only option to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The announcement of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue offers the way forward for Pakistan and India to pick up the thread from where it was broken, he added.

“As we observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day today, let us pledge to continue extending our political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle for right to self-determination. Let our Kashmiri brothers and sisters know that they are not alone in their struggle,” the CM held.

PTI urges world to see Kashmiris’ plight: PTI leader and former minister Malik Abdul Qayyum has urged the International community to come forward on the Kashmir issue and take notice of gross human rights violations occurring in the occupied valley.

In a message on Kashmir Day, he said the right to self-determination was promised to the people of Kashmir by the United Nations in its numerous resolutions. “But even after more than 68 years this fundamental right is being denied to the people,” he added.

Despite adversity, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have continued their long and strenuous struggle. In the course, they have gone through un-imaginable sufferings and have rendered countless sacrifices.

“It is widely known that the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir are undergoing the worst form of human rights’ violations at the hands of more than 700,000 Indian security forces. Millions of Kashmiris have lost their lives, several thousands have gone missing and women are being raped by the Indian security forces.

“Women, whose husbands were forcibly picked up by the occupying forces decades ago, are condemned to live the existence of untenable half widows,” added the PTI leader.

Mr Malik said the entire Pakistani nation shares the grief experienced by thousands of Kashmiris widowed and orphaned in the occupied Kashmir.

“Hearts of Pakistani people beat with our Kashmiri brethren and we are sure that the Indian security apparatus can never crush their spirit of freedom,” he added.