Pakistanis, on the appeal of Prime Minister Imran Khan, came out in droves on Friday to observe ‘Kashmir Hour’ from 12pm to 12:30pm to express solidarity with Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir.
Education institutions, government and private offices, banks, traders, lawyers and military authorities took part in the events. All traffic signals turned red at noon.
Small and large rallies were also held across the country by citizens, lawyers, and people from other walks of life. Various leaders took part in Kashmir Hour events including Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, PTI’s Dr Seema Zia and cricketer Shahid Afridi at a Kashmir Hour event in Karachi. — Photo courtesy PTI Sindh Official Twitter
In the federal capital, the main event was held outside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) where a large gathering was addressed by the prime minister. Along with the premier, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Naeemul Haque were also in attendance.
The national anthems of Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir were played at the start of the event.
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a Kashmir Hour event outside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
“Today, all of Pakistan, wherever there are Pakistanis, whether they are our students, or shopkeepers or labourers — today all of us are standing with our Kashmiris,” the premier said.
“Our Kashmiris are going through a very tough time.”
The premier said that the ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had taken over India, “the way the Nazi party had taken over Germany”.
“They think that Muslims should be taught a lesson, that they are not equal citizens. Today, the whole world is seeing what is happening in Kashmir.”
Shahrae Faisal in Karachi during Kashmir Hour. ─ Photo courtesy Rabya Hasan
Prime Minister Imran said he has conveyed to all foreign leaders that if the international community does not stand up to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “fascist government”, the effect would be felt in the whole world.
The premier reiterated that if India planned to take any action in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, “every brick will be countered with a stone.”
“Forget the media; they did not let even [Indian] opposition leaders go to Srinagar.”
He called attention to the fact that Kashmirs in IoK were under curfew for nearly four weeks. “The message from Pakistan that will be sent today is that till our Kashmiris don’t get independence, the people of Pakistan will stand with them.”
President Arif Alvi while speaking during Kashmir Hour on Friday.─ DawnNewsTV
Another event was held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr where President Arif Alvi addressed the crowd.
“I pray to God that in your and my lifetime, we see an independent Kashmir in which their rights are not repressed, their women are not raped and their people are not martyred.”
Appeal to express solidarity
While addressing the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Imran had announced that an event will be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people, starting from August 30.
Read: National anthems, sirens to blare across country for ‘Kashmir Hour’ at noon on Friday: DG ISPR
According to the railways ministry, all trains were to stop for one minute and all railway workers were to take part in Kashmir Hour events.
The Punjab government had also issued a ‘Friday Plan’ as a part of Kashmir Mobilisation Campaign beginning with standing in respect of the country’s national anthem. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar were scheduled join a procession at Charing Cross.
ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had urged the youth, particularly students, to attend the Kashmir Hour events to express solidarity with Kashmiris.
Read: Pakistani celebs rally in support of Imran Khan’s call for Kashmir Hour tomorrow
Celebrities and cricketers also appealed to the public to come out for Kashmir Hour.
‘Strong message of solidarity’
India’s government, led by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, decided on August 5 to repeal of Article 370 of the Indian constitution, that granted occupied Kashmir special status. The government instituted a security lockdown and communications blackout to avoid violence. The clampdown is now on its 26th day.
Ahead of today’s events, the premier on Thursday called on all Pakistanis to take part in Kashmir Hour to send a strong message of solidarity to Kashmiris.
“I want all Pakistanis to come out tomorrow 12 noon-12.30pm to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people and send the Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir a clear message that the entire Pakistani nation stands in solidarity with them and against Indian fascist oppression, the inhumane 24-day curfew, the daily injuring and killing of Kashmiri civilians, including women & children — all part of the ethnic cleansing agenda of the Modi government and its illegal annexation of IoK,” the prime minister said via Twitter.
“The plan to change demography of IoK is a war crime under 4th Geneva Convention.
“We must send a strong message to Kashmiris that our nation stands resolutely behind them. So I am asking all Pakistanis for half an hour tomorrow, stop whatever you are doing and come out on the road to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people,” he urged.