The ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is being observed today across the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir

LAHORE : The ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is being observed on Friday (February 5) across the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir for expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir waging a struggle for their right of self-determination for the last six decades. The day has dawn with special prayers for the liberation of Kashmir, in all principal mosques throughout the country.

Prayers will also be offered for victims of Kashmir freedom struggle. One-minute silence will be observed throughout the country with sounding of sirens at 10 am and the traffic will be brought to a halt. Newspapers will also publish special editions on the occasion, while TV channels and radio centres will air special programmes, highlighting the freedom struggle of Kashmiris.

On this day, Pakistani nation renew its pledge that it would continue to extend unflinching moral and political support to their Kashmiri brethren in their heroic struggle for their right to self-determination. The day is also an occasion to salute the courage and bravery of the freedom loving people of Kashmir who have remained steadfast and resolute in their quest to attain their inalienable right of self-determination.

Political parties and people hailing from different walks of life will join hands to express complete solidarity and unity with their Kashmiri brethren on February 5, in their just struggle. To mark the day, seminars, public gatherings, rallies and other events have been planned in a bid to highlight the plight of Kashmiris besides expressing solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren.

Speakers through their speeches will press the peace loving nations all over the world to exert pressure on India to stop its aggressive policies and allow the Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination. The government has already declared public holiday for February 5 and all the government offices, as well as educational institutions will remain closed. Shops, markets and business centres will also remain closed on this occasion.

There is complete consensus among the ranks and file of political leadership in the country that Kashmir issue is a threat to peace and stability of this region while peaceful and durable solution to the dispute, in accordance with the UN resolutions and aspirations of the people of Kashmir is the only solution.

In Lahore, processions and rallies will be taken out from different areas to express solidarity with Kashmiri brethren and condemn atrocities against innocent people of the held valley. It may be mentioned that Pakistan has always emphasised the necessity of a meaningful and constructive dialogue to resolve the Kashmiri dispute.

Kashmiri leaders were of the view that the Kashmir Solidarity Day has assumed special significance in the changed geo-political environment of the region, where the Kashmir dispute is widely believed as a flash-point, drawing international attention for its resolution, according to the United Nations resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris. Mohammad Saleem

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The struggle for freedom in Kashmir has undergone a radical change during the last few years

The struggle for freedom in Kashmir has undergone a radical change during the last few years, changing in character from essentially a reliance on the power of the armed resistance to embracing the tactics of non-violence. For freedom fighters to make this transition is a substantive step which is loaded with tremendous possibilities and is capable of unleashing the might of the pent-up anger and hurt caused by the roughshod treatment of Kashmiris into a potent and irresistible movement. The civil society in Kashmir is getting organised to challenge the  abominable way in which the Indian state has treated it and that is no cold comfort for their tormentors. The power of this trend is becoming manifest when the common people are coming together to defy the power of the state to represent themselves.

The efficacy of the trend is evident through formation of organisations like the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and by resilience of activists like Parves Imroz, who have begun to draw attention at forums like the European Parliament for the unending pain that the Kashmiri population has to bear with.

The September Eleven incident has erased the line separating the freedom fighter from a terrorist and this has provided India with a handle to portray the alienation of Kashmiris with the Indian occupation as a foreign sponsored movement employing terror tactics. This has also enabled India to get away with the grave human rights violations it is perpetrating in Kashmir. One has to also take it into account that in the course of armed resistance spread over two decades the Kashmir landscape has been saturated with jackboot and the bayonet; thoroughly bruising and traumatizing the Kashmiri nation. The evolving non-violent mass resistance movement in Kashmir is in step with the global dynamics and reflects their impact on shaping local ground realities.

The Kashmiri armed resistance has been waged by around 1500 freedom fighters, operating in IHK at the peak of insurgency. Yet to neutralise this modest number of freedom fighters the Indians have physically deployed 700,000 troops who occupy every nook and corner of cities and hamlets and crisscross the forests, turning the landscape into a virtual jail. Around 100,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives during 20 years of conflict and 8000-10000 people have simply vanished after arrest by the
security forces. The Indian armed forces employ infamous Special Operations. Momin Iftikhar

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