Kashmir Solidarity Day: An unwavering commitment to freedom
Observed by all Pakistanis on February 5 each year, Kashmir Solidarity Day is aimed to show to the Kashmiris and the world at large that Pakistan and its people are committed to the principle of self-determination for the people of the Indian occupied valley. The occasion is marked by public processions and special prayers in mosques for the liberation of the valley. On this day, one-minute silence is observed throughout the country. Also, special programmes are held to express complete solidarity with the Kashmiris and protests are arranged against the Indian oppression.
Pakistanis have been steadfast in extending their support to the Kashmiris. The people of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir share centuries-old ethnic, linguistic and religious bonds. In this background, the solidarity message to the Kashmiris from Pakistanis is loud and clear: Pakistan stands with the Kashmiris and will continue to do so until they win their right to self-determination.
Officially, Pakistan began observing February 5 as Kashmir Day to express solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir from 2004. On January 31, 2004, speaking at a news conference, the-then Federal Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs had said that the people and the government of Pakistan would demonstrate on the day their solidarity with the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. He said that observance of the day was meant to convey a message to the world that Pakistan would not step back an inch from its stated position on the issue. The then Pakistani Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, visited Muzaffarabad on February 5 and addressed a joint session of the Legislative Assembly and Council.
A Kashmiri journalist some time back quoted Srinagar-based international law expert Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain as saying that Kashmir Day has been observed historically right from 1932, after being first proposed by the then Kashmir Committee. “In the 1930s, the day was observed to express camaraderie with the Kashmiris’ struggle against autocratic Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh. In the present day context, Kashmir Day is observed to express solidarity with the struggle of the Kashmiris against India,” Sheikh Showkat said. “Basically, it (Kashmir Day) started from undivided Punjab and it has been celebrated ever since, with pauses in between. This day will continue to hold importance until the Kashmiris achieve their objective of right to self-determination.”
In essence, February 5 symbolises Pakistan’s deep-rooted relationship with Kashmir and its people. Every year, the day revives the cultural, religious and geographical proximity the valley enjoys with Pakistan. The pro-Pakistan sentiment in Kashmir is forever alive and is given loud expression in the slogans raised by Kashmiri youths bravely resisting Indian military might.
Our young generation should be educated about the importance of Kashmir Day. On this day our youths are reminded that the Kashmiris will never give up their struggle to get their right to self-determination under the UN resolutions, and Pakistan will continue to support them till final victory.
The struggle in Kashmir is indigenous and has always enjoyed popular support against the Indian military occupation. Through its latest aggressive actions, a belligerent India has lost whatever little support it claimed to have in IIOJ&K. The security and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir remains grim. With nearly 900,000 troops stationed in the valley, prolonged curfews, a blackout of communications, and in the midst of Covid-19, the “Paradise on Earth” has become a living hell for the Kashmiris.
The Kashmiris have always shown bravery, resilience and perseverance in the face of injustice and state brutality. They will resist Indian occupation till they achieve their political rights, guaranteed to them by the international community under UNSC resolutions.
Pakistan will continue to awaken the world conscience to the plight of the Kashmiris and remind the nations of the world that they owe it to the people of Kashmir and to the principles of the United Nations Charter to let the Kashmiris decide their future for themselves as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions. Because of its very weak case on the Kashmir valley, India terms it a bilateral dispute and avoids internationalizing the issue. From 1990 onwards, India has started a new propaganda that Kashmir is an issue of cross-border terrorism but there is no taker for this blatant lie.
No matter what, the Kashmir issue remains on the agenda of the United Nations. Recently, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with consensus a Pakistan-sponsored resolution, titled “Universal Realisation of the Right of the Peoples to Self-Determination”, which “unequivocally supports the right to self-determination for all peoples under subjugation, alien domination and foreign occupation”, including those of Indian-occupied Kashmir. According to a statement by the Foreign Office (FO), the adoption of the resolution with consensus provides the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir with a new hope in their just struggle for self-determination and freedom from oppression and occupation. The day is not far when the people of Kashmir will be free from the yoke of Indian occupation.