October 27, 1947 is a date that is etched in the minds of all Kashmiris for it is the day when India forcibly took over Kashmir. This has led to the long-standing dispute of Kashmir, as the people of Jammu and Kashmir were denied the right of self-determination in 1947 and have been continually denied this right till date. This year once again Black day will be observed on October 27 by Pakistanis in solidarity with our Kashmiri brethren. People from all walks of life will mark this day and remember it as a dark day in the history of Kashmir.

History tells us that with approximately 87% Muslim population, Kashmir would have in all probability acceded to Pakistan but it was forcibly overtaken by the Indians. The people of Kashmir rejected illegal Indian occupation and its case was presented at the UN. Through the resolutions passed on August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949, the UN approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the world body. But we are still waiting for this to happen. India fears the loss of Kashmir and so continues to avoid a plebiscite. In all this time India has utilised force to subjugate the people in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), they have been suffering atrocities for decades and thousands of lives have been lost.

Tensions have been high in IHK since the killing of Burhan Wani by Indian security forces in July 2016. Wani’s funeral was followed by angry protests that were unprecedented in intensity and range. The will of the Kashmiri people has not been broken; instead a new wave of uprising in Kashmir has emerged. Despite the attention of the world community and with human rights groups across the globe condemning India for its human rights abuses in Kashmir nothing has been done. India has in fact escalated its cruel behaviour. The massive suppression by India is clearly designed to silence the people of Jammu and Kashmir through sheer brutality bordering on ethnic cleansing. Presently, every Kashmiri, particularly the youth, is adamant that it will continue to fight for Kashmir come what may. Pakistan has always supported and will continue to reinforce this support for the Kashmir freedom movement and every year October 27 is marked as Black day to give a clear message that Kashmiris will continue to struggle for their right of self-determination despite Indian perpetuation of violence and ruthlessness.

A recent spate of panic has swept IHK after more than 100 women have claimed they were victims of attackers who chopped off their hair. Most of the women were alone and have told relatives they suspect a spray was used to knock them unconscious before their braids were cut. This is another despicable form of harassment and cruelty and will only add to the pain already being suffered by the Kashmiris. According to a 2015 study by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) group, about 1.8 million adults — 45 percent of Kashmir’s adult population, and mostly women — suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems. Such long standing trauma leaves indefinable scars and the worst part is that healing cannot even begin until the Kashmir dispute is resolved.

The government of Pakistan has time and again reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm commitment to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the protection of their fundamental rights. This message was forcefully reaffirmed by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in his address to the United Nations General Assembly recently. India has till date not implemented the UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir that mandates a UN-supervised plebiscite for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and this situation can no longer be ignored. India doesn’t even make pretence of caring for the people it’s quite obvious to even a casual observer that the Kashmir dispute for India is about power and land among other things and nothing to do with safeguarding the rights of the people.

Pakistan must continue to push for a peaceful solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, the lives of millions of people and their future generations are at stake; and let it not be said that we did not stand with our brothers in their time of need.

According to a 2015 study by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) group, about 1.8 million adults — 45 percent of Kashmir’s adult population, and mostly women — suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems.