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Pakistan observes Kashmir 'exploitation day

Pakistan observes Kashmir ‘Exploitation Day’

ISLAMABAD – Demonstrations and seminars were held across Pakistan on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of New Delhi’s actions that stripped Kashmir, administered by India, of its special status.
Islamabad observed the day as “Youm-e-Istehsal” or “the day of exploitation” to reiterate its condemnation of the measure of August 5, 2019, which led to the disputed annexation of the valley to the territory of the Indian Union.
The day started with a minute of silence: traffic across the country stopped at 10 a.m. Local time [0500GMT] for 60 seconds.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led a demonstration in Islamabad to express solidarity with Kashmiris.
Kashmir Minister of Affairs, Ali Amin Gandapur, lawmakers from both the government and opposition and other government officials, marched in Islamabad.
Addressing the demonstration, Alvi accused India of failing to comply with the bilateral agreements, which aimed to resolve the long Kashmir dispute.
“Every time we bring the matter up to any multilateral forum, India says it is a bilateral problem. But, in the past 73 years, [New Delhi] has never made any serious effort to resolve it,” he said.
The head of state said India wants to bring demographic change in Kashmir.
“India has learned from Israel how to change the demographics of a territory. It is doing what Israel has done in Palestine, especially in the West Bank,” he said.
Kashmiris, he said, have openly rejected the so-called annexation of India.
“If the Kashmiris were happy with that move, India would not have imposed a curfew on the valley today to prevent them from expressing their anger.”
He called on the international community, including the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Countries, to help resolve the dispute between the two arch-rivals.
Dozens of demonstrations were also organized in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), the Pakistan-administered part of the Kashmir Valley.
In his capital, Muzzafarabad, a “Kashmir solidarity march” was held, attended by Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, lawmakers and politicians.
Haider, addressing the demonstration, called for a “more aggressive” approach by Islamabad to pressure New Delhi regarding the Kashmir dispute.
Meanwhile, waving flags of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, participants marched in the north-eastern city of Lahore to express their solidarity with Kashmiris. Punjab province governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and Prime Minister Usman Buzdar led the rally.
Syed Murad Ali Shah, prime minister of the southern Sindh province, also led a concentration of Kashmir in Karachi, the provincial capital and the commercial center of Pakistan.
Organized by different political parties and members of civil society, events were also held in Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad and other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan said the Indian government tried to silence the Kashmiris, but that he will continue to voice his voice as “ambassador”.
Imran Khan, in a series of tweets, said he will address the AJK Assembly, a unicameral legislature of elected representatives in Azad Kashmir, to “show solidarity.”
[We will] “show solidarity with Kashmiris in Youm-e-Istehsal. Kashmiris in India illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) have been subjected to a brutal fascist military siege by India since their illegal actions …”
He will also lead a symbolic walk, lay the foundation stone for a monument to the martyrs of the Kashmir freedom movement and meet with Kashmiri leaders.
Referring to the new political map of Pakistan, Khan said: “We have also represented the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and our commitment to the UNSC resolutions on the political map of Pakistan released yesterday.”
The map, released Tuesday, identifies Kashmir as a “disputed territory” and states that its final status will be decided as per UN Security Council resolutions.
Separately, Khan called Kashmir’s “military siege and communication blockade” a “crime against humanity”.
“Eight million cashmere has been taken prisoner in their own homes. Their communication with the outside world has been deliberately revoked to hide the scale of human rights violations perpetrated.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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