MIRPUR (AJK)/SIALKOT/KHANEWAL-Like rest of the world, International Day of Peace was also observed in Azad Jammu Kashmir with a call for the establishment of peace across the globe especially in the conflict zones of South Asia including Jammu & Kashmir.

The day is observed every year across the globe in the light of the charter under the manifesto of the United Nations to highlight the importance of peace.

A special ceremony was held here on Wednesday under the auspices of the local Chapter of Kashmir Watch International, the UK-based Kashmiri Human Rights outfit. It remained the hallmark of the day to press both India and Pakistan to maintain ceasefire on the LoC to ensure continuation of the efforts by the two countries for emergence of lasting and durable peace in the region through the ultimate peaceful settlement of the issues.

Secretary General Zaffar Kiyani chaired the ceremony which was attended among others by Kashmiri Peace Activist and analyst Altaf Hamid Rao, Kashmir Press Club President Hafiz Maqsood, Secretary General Kamran Abid Bukhari and several eminent members of the civil society.

The participants strongly condemned the increased human rights abuses by the Indian occupational forces in occupied Jammu & Kashmir. They also prayed for the establishment of permanent and durable peace in the conflict zones.

The participants also raised peace-loving and anti-war slogans including “We want Peace and Not War”, “War Costly and Peace free of Cost” and “ Ensure peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue”.

In his telephonic address, KWI Chairman Mir Muhammad Sideeque Khawaja from the Organization’s Head Quarter in Nottingham City called upon the international community to perform their role for the early peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue in line with aspirations of the people of people.

The KWI chairman said, “On 33rd anniversary of International Peace Day being observed this year, we are wondering at the relevance in Kashmir. Peace is associated with justice and democracy with freedom of expression. Is anyone listening to our (Kashmiris) silent screams?”

He pointed out that since Kashmir had always been the stumbling block in the way of cordial relations between India and Pakistan, this lingering issue shall have to be resolved without further loss of time through peaceful means.

He called for lending individual and collective role for the establishment and promotion of peace from lower to bottom in the respective nations. The Kashmiri leader called for a sincere and matching response by India to the persistent sincere offer by Pakistan for early peaceful resolution of all long-standing issues including Kashmir through peaceful composite dialogue to help emergence of everlasting peace in the internationally-acknowledged disputed region.

Special ceremonies including seminars and symposiums at various other places in AJK were the hallmark of the day throughout AJK.

In Sialkot, a large number of people especially traders, educationists, journalists and non-profits activists participated in a walk held in connection with the International Day of Peace by Social Welfare Department.

The participants were carrying banners and placards. They pledged to make sincere efforts for the establishment of durable peace across the globe. They saluted the armed forces of Pakistan and other law enforcing agencies and the masses for battling against terrorism. They said that the whole nation stands united against terrorism and is ready to sacrifice even their lives while battling against terrorism shoulder to shoulder with the armed forces of Pakistan. They said that the operation Zarb-e-Azb by the armed forces of Pakistan was bearing the desired results regarding uprooting terrorism from the country.

In Khanewal, representatives of the district government gave a briefing about the steps taken by the Punjab government to bring peace and to control terrorism. DSP Maqbool briefed the meeting about the success of police and steps taken by it to ensure peace in the district. MPA Nishat Ahmed Khan appreciated the role played by the media to bring awareness in the society about terrorism.