For the past couple of decades, Feb 5 is being observed across Pakistan as the day to express solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir, but this year it has assumed special significance because of India’s illegal annexation of the Muslim-majority territory, on August 5, 2019. New Delhi has placed occupied Kashmir under lockdown with severe curbs on civil liberties. IOK has practically no communication with the outside world for more than six months. The prolonged lockdown has severely affected business activities. Kashmiris have run out of medical supplies. Now IOK is the most militarised zone in the world with around 900,000 Indian troops deployed there.
Pakistan has shown exemplary restraint in the face of provocations by India. It is, however, giving full moral support to the Kashmiris. On Feb 4, the National Assembly unanimously called upon India to end atrocities in IOK. The global community has regularly been raising its voice against Indian actions in IOK. The EU Parliament is soon to vote on a resolution condemning Indian atrocities in IOK. Human Rights Watch and other global rights bodies have censured the Indian government for gross violations of human rights in IOK.
Within India too, the Modi government is coming under scathing criticism for its policies in IOK. Yashwant Sinha, the former finance minister in BJP government, twice tried to visit IOK after Aug 5 to see firsthand the situation there. First, he and his small delegation were returned from Srinagar airport. The second time he and his team were not allowed to come out of their hotel. Indian soldiers told them to see conditions outside from the window of the hotel, said Shatrughan Sinha, a former BJP politician and film personality, in a speech at a public meeting recently in Lucknow. Yashwant was also present at the meeting. Besides these leaders, many Indians are asking their government to release the jailed Kashmiri leaders and resolve the issue through dialogue. Indians are describing the Modi government as one-man show and two-man army, and Modi and his lieutenant Amit Shah as two idiots.
It can confidently be said that Kashmiris shall soon gain freedom for which they have been making great sacrifices.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2020.
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