It was a Public Holiday in Pakistan today. Reason: It observed a day of solidarity with Kashmiris to “highlight Kashmir cause and the need for the resolution of the longstanding dispute as per aspirations of Kashmiri people”.
Rallies, public meetings, functions and seminars were held across the nation and Pakistan administered Kashmir in universities, colleges, market places and at places of importance to draw attention of the world community towards the “plight of Kashmiris” and “show solidarity” with the people of Kashmir.
“At a number of places Human chains were formed on the bridges and roads connecting Azad Kashmir to Pakistan to express solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. A human chain was also formed at Kohalla Bridge. Students and people belonging to different walks of life from Pakistan and Azad Kashmir participated in formation of human chain,” said Naseera Qamar from Rawalpindi.
Kashmir Day was also observed in Punjab University (PU) to express solidarity with people of Kashmir. Punjab University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Mujahid Kamran, former chief justice of Pakistan Sheikh Riaz Ahmad, former Lahore Bar Council president Ahmad Awais, Gen R Farooq Ahmad Khan also participated in the program.
“It is the obligation of the world to get the UN resolutions implemented in Kashmir without further loss of time to ensure early grant of the birth right to Kashmiris,” Mahnoor Mukhtar, a student of PU said.
In Peshawar, a ceremony was held by the Cultural Department of KPK government to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir, reports said.
On the occasion, reports quoted Minister for Higher Education and Information, Government of KPK Mushtaq Ghaani as having said, “Kashmiris are not alone in this struggle against oppression. We stand by them diplomatically and morally and Kashmir will definitely see a dawn of freedom.”
The Kashmir solidarity day was also observed in Gilgit. A rally was taken out from Imamia Majid which passed through Jamia Masjid Ahle-Sunnat and Ghari Bazar and culminated in the main chowk.
“People from all walks of the life participated in the rally and different people addressed the rally. Participants also shouted slogans in favour of Kashmir,” said Khush Atwar Khan.
Meanwhile, a Kashmir Solidarity Conference was observed in Spark-Brook Community Centre Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Fahim Kiyani, member ‘Tehreek-e-Kashmir’ UK said the day was observed to show support to “our oppressed brothers and sisters” in Kashmir who are continuously living under the threat of “Indian armed forces.” “We organized a conference which was addressed by different councillors and community leaders. They highlighted the need of resolving the decades old Kashmir issue.” On the occasion a documentary on Kashmir issue was also screened, she said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain earlier vowed to continue Pakistan’s “unflinching moral, diplomatic and political support to the heroic struggle of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir”.
In their separate messages on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day, they saluted the brave, valiant and courageous men, women and youth of Kashmir who laid their lives for the sacred “cause of freedom” in the last 68 years.
They said all the “Indian brutalities” and “atrocities” have failed to deter the people of Kashmir from their cause for freedom from “Indian oppression”.
Both leaders urged the international community to fulfil its promise made with the people of Jammu and Kashmir 68 years ago.
The President and the Prime Minister said peace in the region would remain elusive until the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
To mention, Pakistan has been observing “Kashmir Solidarity Day” since 1990. However, historians differ over how and when it started and say that the customary day has its roots in colonial era when in the city of Lahore, Kashmir Committee decided to observe “solidarity” with Kashmiri nation fighting Dogra rule.
February 5 was formally observed as Kashmir solidarity day by late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974. Late Qazi Hussain Ahmad of Jama’at-i-Islami called for “expression of solidarity” with the people of Kashmir on February 5, 1989. In 1990, late Benazir Bhutto announced February 5 as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ and declared it a public holiday in Pakistan.
(The people quoted above were either contacted through e-mail or Facebook.)