The entire country witnessed the grandeur of celebrations held to mark Pakistan Day this Friday. The day itself is a huge reminder of why the country exists and the problems that plagued both nations at the core. Many speakers reminded us of the journey that Pakistan undertook and how far along we have come as a nation. To be able to implement a modern democratic setup in a country where parochial concerns still overshadow the building of modern relations, is a huge task. We have witnessed two democratic setups finally managing to complete their tenure. This is a milestone in the democratic history of Pakistan.

However, as expected, the celebrations could not be complete without the mention of Kashmir and relations with India. Kashmir is a very inherent part of Pakistan, and it is important to highlight that especially on a day that celebrates Pakistan. It was equally important to also remind India of the atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Pakistan’s resolve to convert this region into a peaceful region. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood was right in pointing out that 70 years have passed by in animosity, but that was not the vision of the founders. They wanted both nations to enjoy good diplomatic relations and that is what both countries should strive for.

It was an intelligent move on part of the Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Bajwa, to invite Indian diplomats to the occasion as well. This is surely a gesture of peace and it must be reciprocated in order to ensure that India is on the same page as well and wants regional stability, rather than becoming a regional hegemony working to disrupt the peace of the region.

Pakistan’s relation with India will always remain soured if both countries do not attempt to resolve the issue of Kashmir. This Pakistan Day witnessed demonstrations in IOK by Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), an all-women outfit advocating use of force to overthrow Indian occupation of Kashmir. The result was them being accused of being anti-India and would be charged under the Indian penal code. This is only one of the instances where we can witness Indian atrocities in the region. President Mamnoon Hussain took the liberty to shed light on unprovoked Indian aggressions and the violations of the Line of Control (LOC). He was right in pointing out that no nation can enforce their will on others, and so, the answer lies in a plebiscite which the Kashmiris have long been waiting for.