LAHORE - The nation observed Kashmir Solidarity Day on Wednesday with the renewed pledge of continuing support to the Kashmiris fighting for their right to self determination.

Public rallies, seminars, walks and exhibitions were arranged across the country to highlight human rights violations by the Indian security forces.

Political, religio-political and religious parties, public sector and private institutions took out rallies to highlight the atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces against armless Kashmiris, who are waging a peaceful struggle for their just right to self determination.

Banners and steamers highlighting the plight of Kashmiris and portraits of Kashmiri leadership were mounted on all the important roads in major cities including Lahore so to express solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiri people.

One minute silence was observed to pay homage to the martyrs of the liberation struggle of Occupied Kashmir.

Newspapers published special editions while public and private television channels aired programmes to highlight the sacrifices rendered by Kashmiris, sufferings of people in the under-siege valley and reminded the world of its obligations towards the resolution of the decades old dispute.

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan organized countrywide rallies and marches to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day.

JI Emir Senator Sirajul Haq led and addressed the march of thousands in Karachi, JI Secretary General Ameerul Azim headed the rally at Lahore’s Mall Road while JI deputy chiefs Liaqat Baloch, Asadullah Bhutto, Rashid Naseem addressed the solidarity marches in Peshawar, Sukkar and Faisalabad respectively.

“Peace in the South Asia is linked to the solution of Kashmir issue. Kashmiris must be allowed to exercise their right to self determination granted to them under the UNO resolutions,” said senator Siraj while addressing a rally in Karachi. He said IHK had turned into the largest prison of the world with eight million people were spending life as prisoners of Indian forces for over six months. He said the people of Pakistan would never leave alone their Kashmiri brethrens in their quest for freedom from Indian yoke. The government, he emphasized, should take practical and decisive steps to ensure the liberation of Kashmir.

JI Secretary General Ameerul Azim while addressing participants of Kashmir Solidarity rally in Lahore said that six months have passed to curfew imposition and lockdown in IHK with thousands of people starving due to food shortage. Schools, shops and hospitals were closed and the entire valley was presenting a deserted look, he said, adding the international community was acting as a silent spectator over human rights abuses in the valley. “The Indian atrocities must end now and world community should pay its role for the solution of the longstanding issue according to the will of the people of the area,” he said. Azim added that Kashmir was incomplete agenda of the division of subcontinent with the people of the area fighting for the case of realization of Pakistan for seven decades.

Addressing a rally in Peshawar, JI Deputy Chief Liaqat Baloch said the sun of freedom will soon rise on the held area and Kashmir will be the part of Pakistan. He highlighted the need for devising a national Kashmir policy with the consensus from political leadership from all parties.

Addressing rallies in other cities, JI leaders Rashid Naseem, Asadullah Bhutto, Javed Kasuri, Dr Tariq Saleem, Zikrullah Mujahid and Muhammad Hussain Mehanti said that every Pakistani was standing shoulder to shoulder with Kashmiris and their sacrifices will soon bear fruit. They also expressed regret on the silence of the UNO and world powers over Indian forces’ crimes against humanity in the IHK. They demanded Islamabad start aggressive diplomacy and take decisive action to against New Delhi to ensure the freedom of Kashmir. They said Kashmiris were fighting the case of realization of Pakistan.

Christian community arranged a prayer ceremony at FGA Convention Ground, Bahar Colony, Kot Lakhpat. Minister for Human Rights Ijaz Alam Augustine, Mashaal Malik, wife of Kashmiri leader Yaseen Malik, parliamentarians, representatives of religious community were also present.

The minister said that Pakistan was a democratic country where minorities have complete freedom, while in India the situation was entirely opposite. He criticized and condemned Narendra Modi for abrogating special status of Kashmir and imposing indefinite curfew for silencing the voice of oppressed people. He said the nation was standing with their Kashmiri brothers. Being Christian and proud Pakistanis, he said, “we stand with Pakistan Army to face any Indian aggression”.

Mashaal Malik said that Narendra Modi had gone to the extreme to oppress the innocent people in the held valley. It was disgraceful for world’s largest democracy to deny Kashmiris their right to self determination. At the end of the ceremony, Pastor Anwar Fazal led special prayer for the security of Pakistan and freedom of Kashmir from illegal Indian occupation.

The main rally was held at Faisal Chowk where Chief Minister Usman Buzdar addressed the participants.

Minister for Industries and Trade Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal led a rally that started from Samnabad and culminated at Faisal Chowk. The participants chanted slogans of “Pakistan Zindabad” and “Kashmir will become Pakistan”.

Mian Aslam Iqbal said that Modi government has exceeded all limits of inflicting atrocities on innocent people. The Kashmiris endured every tyranny and cruelty of India with great courage and fortitude, he added. Prime Minister Imran Khan by becoming voice of Kashmiri people has raised Kashmir issue at every national and global forum. The sacrifices of brave Kashmiris being laid down for attaining independence would definitely bear fruit and forceful occupation would end soon, he maintained.

Secretary Environment Saima Saeed led a rally from National Hockey Stadium to Faisal Chowk. Carrying national and Kashmiri flags, placards and banners inscribed with writings in favour of Kashmir and against Indian occupation forces, the participants raised slogans against Narendra Modi.

An art exhibition titled “Blood in the Valley” was arranged to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir at Alhamra Art Gallery. The exhibition featured 50 artworks from renowned and young artists in which Kashmiris’ freedom struggle was presented to the public. Minister Law and Chairman Kashmir Committee Punjab Raja Basharat was the chief guest.

Raja Basharat said that the international community and the United Nations have to fulfill their responsibility to protect innocent Kashmiris from crimes. He reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to extend all possible political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris until they attain their inalienable right of self-determination. He further said that in this time of need, all Pakistanis were standing with Kashmiris.

Principal Postgraduate Medical Institute and Amirud Din Medical College Prof Sardar Mohammad Al Freed Zafar, Medical Superintendent Lahore General Hospital Dr Mahmood Salahuddin, Dr Rana Shafiq, faculty doctors, nurses and paramedical staff participated in the walk to express solidarity with people of Kashmir.

Addressing the participants, Prof Al Fareed Zafar vowed to continue support to Kashmiris in their just struggle for freedom. He said that the blood of martyrs would never go waste and sun of freedom would soon shine in Kashmir. He urged the youth to highlight untold miseries of Kashmiri people on social media.

The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) condemned the lockdown of Occupied Kashmir by India, which has entered the 185th day on Feb 05, 2020, expressing full solidarity on behalf of the whole business community of Pakistan to the valiant struggle of the Kashmiri people, resisting repression and military might with their spirit and determination.

Addressing a traders meeting, PIAF Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir urged the government and all stakeholders to formulate a coherent national strategy and national stamina to sustain that strategy. He said that civilian and military leaders were on the same page on Kashmir issue, people were protesting Indian move inside India, in the UK and other countries, while Solidarity Day on 5th Feb has sent a very positive signal. He said India was facing unprecedented diplomatic humiliation which was a victory for Pakistan. He noted that Modi’s move has initiated the process of disintegration of a divided country while tensions with Pakistan would destroy its economy and credibility. He warned that depriving Pakistan of its share of water would be the last mistake of Hindu radicals who have changed secular India into an extremist state.