Pakistan on Tuesday observed ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, with top leaders extending their support to the people in the Valley and to finding a just and peaceful resolution to the issue.
On the occasion Pakistan President Arif Alvi urged Government of India to uphold the rights of Kashmiri people instead of trying ─ and failing ─ to “justify its terrorism” against innocent citizens by pushing a “false narrative of ‘killing militants.'”
President Alvi in an address to the Legislative Assembly of the Pakistan administered Kashmir in Muzaffarabad on Tuesday issued a list of demands for the Government of India.
Alvi urged the Indian government to lift restrictions on electronic communications in Kashmir so that international media and social media are in the know about what is happening there.
“If you are in the right, the world will come to know about it. And if you are in the wrong, the world will find out about,” President Alvi challenged Government of India.
He also asked the United Nations to send a fact-finding commission to Jammu Kashmir and “fulfil the promises it made to Pakistan and India”.
“I salute your struggle,” President Alvi said, addressing the people of Kashmir. “Pakistan is with you.”
In a separate message, he recalled that the purpose of February 5 was to “demonstrate to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters and the world at large that we have not forgotten the long-pending dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, and the struggle of the people of Kashmir against India.”
President Alvi hit out at the international community’s indifference to “grave human rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir”, which he said, “raise doubts in the minds of Kashmiris, hinting at a double standard where every atrocity goes unpunished and every human rights violation, uncondemned.”
“It reduces the UN Human Rights Charter to mere verbal rhetoric,” President Alvi said.
“Behind its false narrative of ‘killing militants’, India has been trying to justify its terrorism but has failed miserably,” he said.
Alvi described a report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights documenting alleged human rights violations in Kashmir as a “turning point and a watershed moment for the Kashmiri community all over the world”.
He said Pakistan supports the proposals contained in the report and calls for the expedited establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to probe the human rights situation in Jammu Kashmir as per the report’s recommendations.
He reiterated Pakistan’s “unflinching solidarity” with the people of Jammu Kashmir, Radio Pakistan reported.
“Pakistan … pays homage to the heroes and martyrs of this epic struggle for liberation that has become a living symbol of the indomitable human spirit. Your cries for Azadi cannot be suppressed,” President Alvi said. “We reassure our Kashmiri brothers and sisters that we will remain consistent in our principled position on Kashmir. The entire Pakistani nation stands with its Kashmiri brethren in their valiant struggle to achieve the legitimate right to self-determination. It is our firm belief that Kashmiris will succeed in their struggle.”
In his message on the ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “The Kashmiri struggle for freedom is gaining strength with each passing day”.
He deplored that despite the passage of 70 years, “the dispute remains unresolved”.
“Ruthless killings, pellet injuries to children and infants, rapes and torture; Indian atrocities in Jammu Kashmir continue unabated and so does the spirit and courage of Kashmiris in their fight to achieve the legitimate right to self-determination,” Khan said.
The Pakistan Prime Minister said that the “number of tortures, rapes and killings perpetrated by the Indian forces against innocent Kashmiris has become a case study in unprecedented violence”.
“Thousands of innocent Kashmiris have been brutally tortured and extra-judicially killed during forced disappearances or illegal custody by the Indian forces, which enjoy full immunity under draconian laws,” he said.
Khan said the observance of ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ commemorates the “strong and unflinching resolve of the Kashmiris to achieve the inalienable right to self-determination from Indian subjugation which does not weaken, rather strengthens with every passing day, and with each new act of Indian cruelty.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Kashmiris would get their rights.
“Today is February 5, and the entire Pakistani nation is standing in solidarity with Kashmiris,” Qureshi said from London, where he is scheduled to attend a conference on Kashmir.
“The Pakistani nation resolves to stand in solidarity with Kashmiris battling Indian oppression and brutality in Jammu Kashmir,” he said.
“I would have been very happy if the Hurriyat leaders were free, if their passports had not been confiscated, if they had been given the opportunity to express themselves,” Qureshi said. “Today people would not be raising slogans of freedom in the shadow of bayonets.”
“They will get their rights in the end,” the Pakistan foreign minister said. “As the resolve, courage and determination has been passed onto the younger generation, it has become clear that this movement will reach its conclusive end.”
He said every child, every institution, every intellect in Pakistan was with Kashmiris and lauds their sacrifices.
In a separate message shared on Radio Pakistan, Qureshi said India’s consistent denial of the right of Kashmiris to freedom was a telling example of impunity.
“The human rights violations in Jammu Kashmir are a blot on the conscience of humanity and demand immediate corrective action by the international community,” he said.
The Pakistan foreign minister said that reports from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Jammu and Kashmir and the United Kingdom’s All-Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir had removed the veil from “decades of obfuscation by India of massive human rights violations and unspeakable crimes against humanity in the Valley”.
“Pakistan remains committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution to this long standing dispute. Our principled position on the Jammu Kashmir dispute is based on none other than the United Nations Security Council resolutions. These resolutions provide for the final disposition of Jammu and Kashmir dispute through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations,” Qureshi said.
He said Kashmir was the “core dispute” between Pakistan and India.
“The dream of peace and prosperity of the people of this region will remain elusive without resolving this dispute in accordance with the aspirations of its people,” the Paksitan foreign minister said.
Qureshi urged the international community to not forget its obligation toward the people of Kashmir, and to understand that continued apathy to the sufferings of the Kashmiri people could have disastrous consequences, not just for the region but potentially for the world at large.
Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also tweeted a message in support of Kashmir.
The DG ISPR said, “The decades of atrocities engineered by Indian forces in Kashmir have failed to suppress [the] ever-strengthening, legitimate freedom struggle.”
“Determined Kashmiris shall succeed,” he said.