LAHORE - Almost every political and religious party in the city took to the street to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day on Monday.

Expressing solidarity with the Kashmiri people and support to their right to self-determination, these political and religious parties condemned Indian atrocities against unarmed Kashmiris.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) organised a Kashmir Solidarity Day rally at Charing Cross. A large number of PTI workers participated in the rally. On the occasion, PTI leaders Chaudhry Sarwar, Member of Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan, Ejaz Chaudhry, Dr Yasmin Rashid and others spoke. Addressing the rally, they laid stress on implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir and plebiscite in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir.

Jamaat-i-Islami also took out a rally from Nasser Bagh to Punjab Assembly. The rally was led by JI Secretary General Liaqat Bloch. JI Information Secretary Amirul Azeem was also present.

Addressing the rally, Baloch said peace in the world would remain a dream as long as the Kashmir issue remains unresolved. He said the United Nations would have to give up its anti-Islam policies and resolve the issue.

He said that India was driving the region into a nuclear war. He said it would be better if Indian rulers shun their colonial designs and give peace a chance in the interest of more than two billion people living in the subcontinent.

JUP’s Qari Zawar Bahadur said the nation stood behind the Kashmiris, but the rulers were not ready to make a bold policy.

Jamaat Ahle Hadith leader Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer said that Kashmiris were rendering sacrifices to become part of Pakistan, which was established in the name of Islam. He said that Kashmir was made part of India in violation of the formula of division of the subcontinent.

The Defence Council of Pakistan organised a Kashmir Conference at Istanbul Chowk to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day. Council chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Muhammad Ali Durrani, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, Saifullah Khalid and others spoke.

On this occasion, Asiya Andrabi, founding leader of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Nation) addressed the rally by phone. Council workers attended the rally in large numbers and raised slogans in favour of freedom of Kashmir.

Hafiz Saeed told the workers on this occasion that Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his cabinet should stage a sit-in in front of the Unite Nations General Assembly and ask for implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir.

“I was imprisoned for 10 months for declaring 2017 Kashmir Year. We are with the Kashmiri people,” he said. He made scathing remarks about deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and said people of Kashmir felt Sharif was disqualified due to his friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pakistan Muslim League (PML) President and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, senior central leader and former deputy prime minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and his son Moonis Elahi expressed complete solidarity with the Kashmiri people on behalf of the PML. They said implementation of UN resolutions was the best solution to the Kashmir dispute. They said that sacrifices rendered by the Kashmiris for the right to self-determination would not go waste.

In their messages on the Kashmir Solidarity Day, the PML leaders said that Kashmiri people were waiting for India to honour the promises on Kashmir it made at the UN. Instead of giving them the right to self-determination, they said, Indian forces in occupied Kashmir were employing every tactic to suppress people’s voice and deny them fundamental rights. They said women, children and the elderly were being subjected to all sorts of violence in Kashmir.

They said that Pakistan’s relations with India and peace in the region were linked to resolution of the Kashmir dispute. They said the international community should pressurise India to implement the UN resolutions on Kashmir.

The University of Engineering and Technology organised a walk led by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day. Khalid said, “Kashmir is a core issue between Pakistan and India that must be resolved for the sake of peace and stability in the region.” He said that Kashmiris must be given the right to self-determination in the light of UN resolutions. He said that support to Kashmiris’ freedom struggle would continue.

The Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust (NPT) hosted an event at Aiwan-e-Karkunan-e-Tehreek-e-Pakistan to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day.

The speakers said observing February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day manifested sentiments of Pakistani nation supporting their Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for independence. They said Kashmir was an integral part of Pakistan. The hearts of Pakistani people beat with the hearts of Kashmiri people, who want to become part of Pakistan. “Pakistan was founded on the basis of two nation theory and the brave people of Kashmir are vying for the same today while fighting against the Indian atrocities and subjugation. It is unfortunate that the world community has kept a mum over the Indian aggression but the struggle of Kashmiris would bear fruit and the sun of independence would rise in the valley one day,” a speaker said.

Those who spoke on the occasion were NPT Vice Chairman Dr Muhammad Rafique Ahmed, Justice (Retd) Khalil-ur-Rehman, Justice (Retd) Mian Aftab Farrukh, Sahibzada Sultan Ahmed Ali, Mian Farooq Altaf, Salman Ghani, Waleed Iqbal, MPA Rana Muhammad Arshad, Begum Mehnaz Rafi, Prof Dr Perveen Khan, Maulana Muhammad Shafi Josh, Sadiq Jaral, Masroor Akhtar Qureshi and Shahid Rasheed.

The NPT chairman said in a special message that the Quaid-e-Azam had declared Kashmir the jugular vein of Pakistan and the Indian atrocities were igniting further the struggle for independence with every passing day.

Dr Rafique Ahmad told the audience that the independence movement in Kashmir was started in 1930. He said the project of CPEC had changed the world perception of Pakistan. “Kashmir has become jugular vein not only of Pakistan but the entire Islamic world,” he added.

The speakers pointed out that as many as 100,000 Kashmiris had rendered sacrifices for the success of the freedom movement and India had failed to suppress their struggle for independence. They criticised India for dubbing Kashmiris as terrorists and blaming Pakistan for terrorism. They appreciated the Trust for following the mission of the late Majid Nizami. They also urged the Muslim world to support the Kashmir cause. They said the Kashmir Movement was equal to the Pakistan Movement.

The All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric and Workers Union and All Pakistan Workers Confederation took out a rally outside the Lahore Press Club to show their support for the freedom struggle of Kashmiri people. A large number of workers attended the rally and raised slogans against the Indian atrocities against the innocent and unarmed people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir.

The Youth Forum for Kashmir also took out a rally from Lahore Press Club to Punjab Assembly. A large number of students participated in the rally. Former chairman of Senate Muhammad Mian Soomro, who is chairman of the Youth Forum for Kashmir, led the rally. Addressing the rally, he said the United Nations had the moral duty to resolve the longstanding issue of Kashmir. “The issue of Kashmir has not been resolved even after passage of 70 years. It must be resolved according to the UN resolutions,” he said.

“The United Nations should hold a plebiscite in Kashmiri. There is no justification for presence of 800,000 Indian armed forces in Occupied Kashmir,” he said.