Lahore    -    Members of religious groups and civil society activists Thursday continued protests to show solidarity with Kashmiris in their just right to self-determination.

Freedom Network, a media rights organization, called upon India to respect freedom of the press in Kashmir where communication services are blocked since the special status of the region was revoked on August 5. “Media blackout in Kashmir is tantamount to denial of eight million people’s fundamental rights to information. This situation is unacceptable,” the network said.  It added Kashmiris be provided with fundamental right of access to information. A group of teachers also took to the streets to raise their voice for the right of Kashmiris. A religious group staged a demo in front of Lahore Press Club to condemn Delhi’s curbs on Kashrmir.  

People of Pakistan took to the streets against India a couple of weeks ago as Delhi decided to change Kashmir status depriving the Kashmiris of their right to self-determination.  The Punjab Child Projection Welfare Bureau wrote a a letter to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) for paying attention to the plight of children in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

In the letter to Unicef Executive Director Henrietta H Fore, CPWB Chairperson Sarah Ahmed said: “For decades, the people of Kashmir have been victims of human rights abuses. After many years of Indian barbarism, people continue to bleed and suffer the brunt of the Indian state-led terrorism.”

“To repress the voice of innocent Kashmiri people, India has resorted to ruthless tactics such as the use of pellet guns, cluster bombs, extra-judicial killings etc”.

She added:  “I am writing this letter to bring to your attention the current situation in Indian occupied Kashmir. The atrocities that have taken place in recent weeks are a grave violation of human rights. Sources have reported that children are being abused and facing unimaginable horror every day.”

Seminar were also held to show solidarity with people in Kashmir.  Talks are the only solution to Kashmir while nuclear capability is only for survival not for wars of massive destructions, said speakers of the seminar organised by the Pakistan Visionary Forum.  Former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan explained the Kashmir dispute in historical, international, and internal perspectives.  The speakers laid stress on unity to fend off Indian plots. Encouraging Kashmiris by providing them moral, political and diplomatic support and overcome weaknesses and making Pakistan a strong and firm nation so that its voice could be listened at every forum seriously.

Similarly, the Jamat-i-Islami reiterated resolve to stand by Kashmiris and raising voice against Indian brutalities in Kashmir.

JI chief Sirajul Haq said at a convention said the government must come up to the expectations of the nation and take bold and practical steps on the matter of Kashmir.

Their seven-decade struggle against Indian occupation, he added, was the proof of their determination and resolve.

Talking about Indian defence minister’s veiled threat about use of nuclear weapons, he said such kind of blusters could not intimidate millions of Pakistanis rather it showed New Delhi’s desperation. He said the government should stand firm and avoid showing any sign of weakness against Indian threats.

He reiterated his unconditional support to the government on Kashmir cause but at the same time demanded the rulers not to sit silent and give a road map to the nation on Kashmir.

Siraj said the people were not satisfied over one year’s performance of the government. Different surveys and media reports, he added, indicated that masses became desperate and hopeless even after one year of PTI’s rule over country.

He said over one million became jobless and thousands lost their homes in so-called anti-encroachment drives. Similarly, he added, prices of medicines, gas and petrol were not in access of common man. Dollar exchange rate and inflation went all times high and there was no check on corruption and nepotism, he said