Solidarity with Kashmiris

By Tariq Rizwan

February 5, each year is observed as a Kashmir Day when a part of Kashmir was liberated from India called Independent Kashmir (in Urdu it is called Azad Jummu & Kashmir – AJK in 1948. In Pakistan, AJK is recognized as a separate state with a Parliament, Prime Minister, President and other governing institutions. The day February 5, was first observed in 1990 on the call of sitting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he was the opposition leader in Pakistan’s National Assembly. Sharif then appealed to the nation to observe the day as a solidarity day and a nationwide strike was observed to protest against the Indian occupation of Kashmir (IoK). Nationwide prayers were offered across Pakistan for the Kashmiri freedom movement’s success. The then ruling Pakistan People’s Party, declared February 5 as a public holiday and Kashmir Day and since been observed every year.

The day is known for rallies and functions, held by the country’s political and religious parties in both Pakistan and AJK. People stand in rows with their hands clasped forming a human chain on all major crossings into AJK from Pakistan. It symbolizes unity and solidarity to reassure Kashmiris that they are not alone in their struggle for freedom. Processions, rallies, conferences and seminars are organized. Political, religious leaders, opinion makers, and influential public figures address the masses and speak in support of the Kashmiri cause. They speak and advocate a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN resolutions. Educational institutions organize debate competitions and dialogue forums where students express their views and ideas for resolving Kashmiri-related issues. Long marches and rallies are the normal symbols of the day in which people chant slogans in support of Kashmiri freedom movement as well as condemning Indian atrocities in the occupied valley.

Though Kashmiris deserve a stern response from the so called champions of human rights to stop the brutal Indian human rights violation in the occupied valley but all in vain. Alas, they are concerned only with the disappearance of those missing bloggers who remained involved in blasphemous and anti Pakistan activities through their blogs. Moreover, they are concerned only with their national interests. Both US/West are appeasing India to capture the later’s huge unexplored market and are ignoring all other inhuman acts in the occupied valley. In the wake of young Kashmiri leader Burhan Vani’s murder by the Indian troops, an unprecedented uprising has been witnessed in IoK during last one year. Thousands of innocent Kashmiri protestors specially youngsters and children activists have been killed and injured so far. Several hundreds have lost their eye sight. Indian troops have been using the lethal pellet guns which caused serious casualties and injuries including loss of permanent eye sight. As per international media and Free Press of India, a huge number of casualties and injuries have occurred during last one year of Kashmiri uprising. There is shortage of doctors including eye specialists in the valley. Injured are lying untreated. About 200 eye injuries were admitted only in Shri Maharaj hospital in Srinagar, the capital of occupied valley, including a five-year-old, Zohra Zahoor, who had pellet wounds in her legs, forehead and abdomen, and is one of the youngest victims from the region. Still there is a “war-like situation” today.

Indian state terrorism cannot intimidate Kashmiris yet the harassment tactics of Indian troops need to be exposed by international media and the world community. Kashmiris need an international support at this crucial stage. Sacrifices of last three generations of Kashmiris symbolize an undeterred and un-daunting struggle against Indian occupation. Kashmir is the key issue to be resolved between the two nuclear neighbors; Pakistan and India. Peace in South Asia is linked to the Kashmir issue. Kashmir solidarity signifies the commitment to support the genuine struggle of the people of occupied valley. International community needs to stand up with the innocent Kashmiris and support them in their hour of need. Independence is the ultimate right of every human being. Hence, they must take notice of the “Kashmiri genocide” by the Indian occupational forces and help them by supporting their right of self-determination according to the UNSC resolutions.

Pakistan and Kashmir have eternal bond of geography, culture and religion. Therefore, Pakistan is supporting morally and diplomatically the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination. Kashmiris are not alone in their struggle for self-determination. India through its brutal force can only kill a Kashmiri but not their will and sentiments for freedom. It is a testing case for the international community to support this human cause. It is absolutely pertinent to say that disowning Kashmiris is tantamount to disowning the humanity.

 The writer is a freelance journalist.

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