HYDERABAD/ KARACHI: Thousands took to the streets on Thursday to observe ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ and claimed that the people of Kashmir had the right to self-determination in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.
In a rally organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), participants marched from Jail Chowrangi to the Quaid’s mausoleum carrying banners, posters and shouting pro-Kashmir slogans.
While addressing the rally, JI secretary-general Liaquat Baloch said that more than 10 million Kashmiris had been fighting for their rights for the last six decades.
He added that his party will continue to support the struggle of the people of Kashmir and Palestine. Baloch asked the federal government to take a clear stance and resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all.
The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) also organised a rally to express solidarity with Kashmir. The rally was led by the party’s central president, Aurangzeb Farooqui, and was attended by more than a thousand members, supporters and activists. They held banners, placards and marched from Lasbela to Guru Mandir.
Farooqui urged the Pakistan Army to help the people of Kashmir.
Several rallies and demonstrations were carried out in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah as well. “If a referendum can be held in Scotland and East Timor than why not in Kashmir?” asked Dr Asadullah Bhutto, the central vice-president of JI, at a rally in Tando Muhammad Khan. The Pakistan Peoples Party, All Pakistan Muslim League, Sunni Ittehad Council and other parties also carried out protests in the district.
Trouble at CM House
As members of the ASWJ carried out a rally for Kashmir, around 40 people claiming to represent the civil society announced that they would stage a sit-in outside Chief Minister House to force the government to take action against the party.
The situation grew a little tense as the ASWJ decided to re-route and walk past CM House in protest against the ‘withdrawal of Farooqui’s security escort.’
As civil society activists approached Karachi Club - nearly 300 metres away from the CM’s residence, the police detained 24 people claiming that they were violating the red zone — the high-security area where the chief minister’s house is located.
Those arrested included Jibran Nasir, Khurram Zaki, Faisal Soomro and Shaheryar Naqvi. The police confirmed that they were taken to the Frere Hall police station while two female activists were taken to another place.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2015.
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