ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan celebrates its 73rd Independence Day in solidarity with Kashmir, President Arif Alvi reiterated the nation’s commitment to always stand with its Kashmiri brethren in their just right to self-determination.
“We are for Kashmiris and they are for us. Their plight and affliction affect us,” the president said while addressing a flag hoisting ceremony in Islamabad.
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Condemning India’s unilateral steps, Alvi maintained that Pakistan does not accept the efforts to change the demographic composition of the occupied territory.
He said immediately after India revoked Article 370 stripping occupied Kashmir of its autonomous status, the government of Pakistan suspended bilateral trade with India, downgraded diplomatic relations and decided to take the issue of Kashmir to UN Security Council.
The president said the joint resolution of Parliament condemned the unilateral and illegal steps taken by India to change the disputed status of Kashmir.
“India has not only violated the UN resolutions on Kashmir but also threw the agreement of Shimla to the dustbin. The Indian act of changing the status quo contravenes the Shimla Agreement,” he stated.
He said the presence of 900,000 troops has made Kashmir the highest militarized zone.
"The blocking of communication and freedom of expression is a serious violation of human rights of Kashmiris."
Alvi urged India to stop its brutal treatment of Kashmiris, grant communication access to people and restore civic and social liberties of the people of the occupied territory.
“India has also been violating the ceasefire agreements by firing and shelling on civilian populations along Line of Control.
“Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wants a message of peace in love. It wants to resolve the issue of Kashmir through negotiations and dialogue. However, India should not misunderstand our policy of peace as our weakness,” he stressed.
Alvi underscored that Pakistan did not wish to go to war but was fully prepared to defend if a war was imposed on it.
“The war will not be limited between the countries, rather its impact will be felt in the whole world. He urged India to be reasonable,” he warned.
The president also asked the nation to fully utilise social media to expose the heinous crimes committed by India against Kashmiris.
He urged the UN and the OIC to constitute an inquiry commission to probe the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and also appealed the youth to devote themselves to the development and reconstruction of the country.
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The president paid rich tributes to sacrifices and dedication of armed forces of Pakistan. He said they have never let any damage done to the country by displaying their courage and professionalism.
Flag hoisting ceremonies were also held in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.
In Karachi, the change of guards ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
A smartly turned out contingent of the cadets of Pakistan Naval Academy assumed the guards' duties.
Commodore Irfan Taj of Pakistan Navy was the chief guest of the ceremony.
He inspected the guard of honour and presented national salute to the Father of the Nation.
The chief guest also laid floral wreath at the mausoleum, offered fateha and recorded his impressions in the visitors' book.