LAHORE - The nation yesterday observed Kashmir Solidarity Day to show the commitment to the cause and give a message to the people of occupied valley that Pakistanis stood shoulder to shoulder with them in their struggle against Indian oppression.

All main political and religious parties organised different seminars, conferences and rallies in different cities which were attended by thousands of people. Teachers, lawyers, students and people of different walks of life attended the events organised in connection with the day.

The day, a public holiday across the country, dawned with special prayers at mosques for the freedom of Kashmiris and their emancipation from Indian subjugation. One minute silence was observed at 10.00 am to pay tributes to the Kashmiri martyrs.

Human chains at Kohala Bridge, Mangla Bridge and other points linking Pakistan and Azad Kashmir were formed.

The day is marked in Pakistan since February 1990 to pay homage to the Kashmiri martyrs and highlight their struggle for right to self-determination, promised to them by the international community under the resolutions of United Nations Security Council.

In Lahore, the ruling PML-N and Jamaat-e-Islami took out separate rallies, PTI Azad Kashmir chapter organised a camp at The Mall, PPP held a seminar in Green Town while different other parties including Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Sunni Ittehad Council, Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqa Jafria, JUI-S, JUP organised rallies at front of Lahore Press Club.

The city’s main event was the Kashmir Conference which was organised by Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu Kashmir in Nasir Bagh.

The PML-N rally was led by Railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, MNA Pervaiz Malk and other leaders. Addressing the rally, Kh Saad called upon the Kashmir leadership to be united for the cause. He said that the government was fully committed to the Kashmir cause.

Addressing a huge march at The Mall, Sirajul Haq said the sun of independence would dawn soon in Kashmir and the Pakistan flag would fly over Srinagar. “The Kashmir Jihad is not a struggle for Roti, Kapra or Makaan or economic freedom, it is an ideological war and nobody can defeat it,” the JI amir said while addressing thousands of men, women and children who had turned up to support the liberation struggle of the Kashmiris continuing for the last 70 years.

Siraj said that Kashmir movement was different from the war in Afghanistan and Palestine, as it was continuation of the historic Pakistan movement. The Kashmiris had done their duty and it was for Pakistan to speed up this movement and carry it to its logical end, he stressed.

He also criticised the government policy on Kashmir and said the rulers were betraying the Kashmiri martyrs for the sake of friendship and trade with India.

Addressing the Yakjahtee Kashmir Conference arranged by Tehreek Azadi Jammu Kashmir, leaders of religio-political and Kashmiri organisations accused the federal government for deviating from Kashmir policy of the Quaid e Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and asked the government to leave ‘Surrender’s policy’ on Kashmir issue.

“Trade of potato and onion is not right. Treacherous plot of giving India the Most Favourite Nation (MFN) status will never become a success story,” they stated and demanded of the government to end the detention of Hafiz Saeed and other JuD leaders.

“[The] Government is spoiling its face by maintaining friendship with Modi. Pakistani nation is united for Hafiz Saeed release.”

They also vowed to continue public gatherings, Kashmir Caravan and Conferences. Students, lawyers, traders and good number of people from all walks of life participated in the conference. Participants carried placard and banners containing text against India and showing solidarity with Kashmiris.

They also carried the posters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. Participants shouted slogans in favour of the detained JuD leader, and Huriyet leader Ali Gilani.

JuD leader Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki said that unfortunately due to Hafiz Saeed's detention, our message of solidarity to Kashmiris was not that powerful and encouraging this year. “Government should clear its Kashmir policy. We comprehend Kashmir as jugular vein of Pakistan. Kashmiri and Pakistani nation are ready to offer every type of sacrifice for Kashmir freedom,” he added.

Jamhuri Watan Party President Shahzain Bugti condemned the detention of Hafiz Saeed and said that rulers being Kashmiri origin were not seemed sincere to Kashmir cause. “Hafiz Saeed and other leaders are detained to please the United States and India. The movement for Kashmir freedom will not stop after any detention. Kashmir will be free,” Bugti said.

Jamiat Ahlehadith Secretary General Ibtisam Ellahi Zaheer, Jamaat Ahlehadith amir Hafiz Abdul Ghaffar Ropari, Jamiat Ulema Islam (F) leader Amjad Khan, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Syed Zaheer Bukhari, Pakistan Singh Circle leader Jissi Singh, PTI’s Hafiz Mudassar Mustafa, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad president Ayyub Mayo, TAJK secretary general Hafiz Khalid Waleed and others also spoke on occasion.