ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has intensified the Kashmir campaign to resolve the longstanding issue as India has unleashed a new spate of state terrorism in the held territory.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told The Nation yesterday that the government will take up the issue at all forums to expose India’s brutalities ion occupied Kashmir.

“Our embassies have been directed to highlight the issue as we have launched a countrywide Kashmir campaign to unmask India. The issue will be taken up at all the bilateral and multilateral interactions. We have never ignored Kashmir in any high-level meeting,” he said.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was spearheading the Kashmir campaign. “The PM is a great ambassador of Kashmir. We have been focussing on Kashmir and we will intensify these efforts,” he added.

This week, the Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and across the world observed Indian Republic Day as Black Day, in protest against India’s continued denial of their right to self-determination.

The call for observance of the Black Day was given by All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani, and other Hurriyat leaders and organizations including Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat forum. The day was marked with a complete strike in occupied Kashmir and anti-India demonstrations and rallies in world capitals.

This year, the observance of the Black Day is also aimed at registering protest against the continued lockdown of occupied Kashmir imposed by India for the past almost six months since August 5, last year. Protest rallies and demonstrations were also held in Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir.

Stringent measures in the name of security have been taken on India’s Republic Day, bringing more miseries to the already besieged people in occupied Kashmir. Indian troops intensified checking and frisking in Srinagar city and other parts of the territory.

While the Kashmir Valley remains under strict military lockdown on 175th straight day, the Indian troops and police personnel were deployed in strength to keep a watch on the movement of people.

FM Quershi had last week announced the launch of the Kashmir campaign across the country on the directives of PM Khan. He condemned the illegal merger of held Kashmir into the Indian union in violation of all the international laws. He said regional peace and security was under threat due to India’s step of revoking the special status of Occupied Kashmir, adding Kashmiris were under military lockdown by the Indian government from past 172 days.

Asked what US President Donald Trump can do on the Kashmir issue, he said the Trump can convince India not to go for false flag operation.

“Trump can tell them this would be a dangerous step. If they (India) go for it, we will have to respond. We had responded last February too,” he reminded. Under the plan, a culture show was held yesterday in which Kashmir cause was focused. Today (January 28), a photo exhibition will be arranged across the country in which stories of Kashmiri people will be presented.

A seminar on Kashmir issue would be held in Islamabad on January 30, while Kashmir Committee Chairman Syed Fakhar Imam will hold a news conference on January 31 to brief the media on the campaign.

On February 3, a ceremony will be held in Convention Centre Islamabad for youth in which ground realities and Kashmir issue will be raised effectively. The authorities will also distribute ration at the Azad Jammu and Kashmir refugee camps on the same day.

On February 4, Kashmir Day will be marked at the President’s House and on February 5, human chain would be formed in AJK and ‘Kashmir solidarity’ rallies will be held across the country.

PM Imran Khan will also address the AJK legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad as well as a public rally in Mirpur.

Tension between Pakistan and India escalated after New Delhi illegally revoked occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India claimed the removal of special status of Kashmir under Article 370 was its ‘internal matter.’

In a meeting with Prime Minister Khan last week, US President Donald Trump had offered to help resolve the Kashmir issue. While Pakistan welcomed the offer, India once again rejected any third-party intervention.