People across the province came out on the streets on Monday to observe Kashmir Day. Rallies and demonstrations were held in all major cities to express solidarity with people in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) were among others who held rallies and demanded that the United Nations (UN) play their role for the independence of occupied Kashmir. “The tension between India and Pakistan cannot be eased until the Kashmir issue is resolved,” Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan said while addressing a Kashmir Day rally in Karachi. “It is the PML-N which had observed this day on February 5, 1990,” he said, adding that the then army chief, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf had called Kashmir leader Ali Gilani a traitor.
He added that Indian troops have broken all records of human rights violations by killing and torturing innocent people, especially women and children. “We demand the implementation of the UN resolution, which gives rights to Kashmiri people to make decisions about their self-determination,” he said.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the people of Kashmir are undergoing the worst form of aggression at the hands of occupying Indian forces in held Kashmir and urged the UN and the rest of the world community to investigate the reported use of chemical weapons and pellet guns against Kashmiris.
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In his message on Kashmir Day, the PPP chairperson said that Kashmiris have been waging a peaceful movement for their legitimate right to self-determination for the past 70 years and have sustained significant losses.
He pointed out that it was then prime minister Benazir Bhutto who declared February 5 Kashmir Day to highlight the issue of Kashmir and pay tribute to those Kashmiris who embraced martyrdom and offered sacrifices during the untiring struggle.
The PTI held a rally from Insaf House to Seaview Beach. Leaders and workers of the party chanted slogans demanding the end of Indian control in the area.
Mayor Wasim Akhtar said Karachi has always supported the struggle of Kashmir and continues to do so.
He expressed these views while speaking at a Kashmir Solidarity Day programme at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) building on Monday.
Stressing the need of raising a strong voice for Kashmiris, the mayor said the government of Pakistan should ask its diplomatic missions and embassies to highlight the gross human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir and inform the world about Indian atrocities against innocent Kashmiris.
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The words of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah citing the importance of Kashmir should be included in the policy and it should be implemented, he said, adding that people in Karachi are with their Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for self-determination. He hoped that the Kashmir Issue would be resolved soon and the people of Kashmir get their birth right of freedom.
The programme was also addressed by Culture Minister Sardar Ali Shah and central spokesperson for the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Abdul Majeed Malik. Kashmiri leader Sardar Nazakat also addressed the program.
Later, a rally was also held outside the KMC building on MA Jinnah Road to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people.
People from different walks of life expressed solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir and vowed to support their struggle until they achieve independence. Political parties, academia, civil society, civil servants and religious parties took out rallies in all districts of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah divisions on Monday to mark Kashmir Day.
In Hyderabad, workers of the PPP, PML-N, Defence of Pakistan Council, Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl), Pak Sarzameen Party, PTI, JUP-Noorani and other parties organised rallies. Slogans like ‘Kashmir will become Pakistan’, ‘Kashmir wants freedom’ and 'stop atrocities against Kashmiris’ resonated during the demonstrations.
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"We pay tribute to the Kashmiri people who have been bravely confronting Indian atrocities by offering sacrifices but never letting down the flag of independence," said JI Hyderabad Amir Hafiz Tahir Majeed at a rally. Majeed and other speakers lamented that the UN and other forums that champion the cause of democracy and freedom have been ignoring the blood of Kashmiri people.
Abdul Wahid Sawati of JUI-S and MQM-Haqiqi's Usman Kennedy and Faisal Nadeem of DPC also spoke at the rally. At a separate rally led by the Hyderabad deputy commissioner and SSP, speakers expressed the hope that Kashmir's freedom is not far away.
"Kashmir is Pakistan’s lifeline, respiratory cord and an inseparable identity," said Sindh University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat at a rally in Jamshoro district. "We unflinchingly believe in their undeniable right to freedom."
In Benazirabad district, a large rally was organised from Munoabad Park which passed through different parts of the city. Hundreds of people participated in a rally that started from the Mirpurkhas municipal office to the local press club.
Workers of the PTI and JI held separate rallies in Larkana to mark Kashmir Day.
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While addressing participants, leaders of the PTI said that people of Kashmir have been braving atrocities by Indian armed forces for the last 70 years, during which thousands of Kashmiris have sacrificed their lives. They said that the day is not far away now when Kashmiris will see the freedom of their occupied land.
They said that the PTI will continue to support their cause, adding that they condemn the barbaric attitude and brutalities of the Indian occupation forces against peaceful Kashmir citizens.
The leaders also said they condemn the UN’s continued silence on the matter, demanding that Indian forces be removed from Kashmir.
JI leaders, addressing their rally, said Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. They said Pakistan is incomplete without Kashmir.
Advocate Muhammad Ashiq Dharah, JI’s naib amir in Larkana district, asked the rulers to use all available resources to help Kashmiris getting freedom.
He said that the UN is a functional body for other nations, but it is a dead entity when it is the matter of the human rights of oppressed Muslim people.
With additional input from PPI