Kashmiris all over the world, marked Thursday, India’s Republic Day, as a Black Day. One result was that the occupation forces clamped a curfew on Srinagar, and did their best to prevent demonstrations being brought out. Because of this curfew and the desire to suppress any gathering, the city was deserted except for patrolling Indian forces. Thus with such high-handed tactics, the occupation forces made a mockery of India’s Republic Day. The Indian forces also suspended mobile services for several hours, thereby making it harder for the people to gather. That also prevented the sending, by text or voice, of Republic Day greetings for they were well aware that no Kashmiri wished even to receive greetings on the occasion.

One purpose of this protest was to bring to the attention of the world community the atrocities committed by Indian armed forces on a daily basis. Some of the Kashmiri activists even protested outside Indian missions abroad. This would serve to bring to the attention of the world community that it is not just a liberation struggle, or a bilateral Pakistan-India dispute, but also a dispute to which the international community has been a party, through the UN Security Council. It should not be forgotten that the Kashmiri people are not asking for the revision of anything. They are demanding the right of self-determination that had been denied to them by Indian duplicity. This commitment had been promised to them by the international community in the UNSC resolutions on the subject.

One of the problems faced by the Kashmiri people was shown on Thursday, the present Pakistan government’s lack of commitment to their cause. Having all but abandoned them, the present setup is not properly giving it the diplomatic and moral support promised. This is a gross disrespect to the vision of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who said that Pakistan would fight for a thousand years if needed, or his successor Benazir Bhutto, who first made February 5 Kashmir Solidarity Day back in 1989. The present government seems to prefer to answer Indian prayers to avoid even the very mention of Kashmir, even when negotiating through bilateral relations. The ongoing Indian theft of Pakistani water proves the correctness of the Quaid-i-Azam’s assessment that Kashmir was Pakistan’s jugular vein. The government must renew its own commitment to the Kashmir cause, and work to raise awareness in the international community to ensure that the Kashmiris’ sacrifices bear fruit.