Kashmir Day was observed by Pakistan on Tuesday with a reiteration by the political leadership of the nation’s resolve to secure the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri people. The day was also marked with belligerent rhetoric from religious right-wing organizations besides the usual round of discussions and rallies across the country on the issue.
Though February 5 is of no particular significance to the Indian part of Kashmir, Pakistan has been observing this day since 1990. In his Kashmir Solidarity Day message, President Asif Ali Zardari said the day was observed every year to reassure ``our Kashmiri brethren of our political, moral and diplomatic support towards their just cause for the right of self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the relevant U.N. resolutions’’.
Further, according to him, Kashmiris have remained resolute and steadfast in the face of oppression spanning over six decades. ``Pakistan believes that the use of force, coercion and violation of basic human rights can never succeed in suppressing an indigenous struggle for a just cause. Their perseverance will bear fruit.’’
Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf, in his message, said the Kashmir dispute has been on the agenda of the U.N. for more than six decades as an unfulfilled obligation.
``The Government of Pakistan would continue to extend its unwavering political, moral and diplomatic support to the just cause of the Kashmiri people to safeguard their right of self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite in line with the U.N. Charter and UNSC Resolutions and for the protection of their fundamental rights.’’
Rallies and protest meetings were held across the country, one of which was addressed by Jamat-ud-Da’wah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed in Lahore. ``Kashmiris will be free. The era of Kashmir being India’s `atoot ang’ (inseparable part) is over,’’ he said, adding that if the U.S.-led NATO forces could not win in Afghanistan, then what chance does India stand in the ``era of Muslim awakening’’.
The observance of the day with a public holiday also drew some caustic remarks, particularly on social media with one Twitterati saying: ``Am hearing of particularly passionate displays of solidarity on the gold courses today’’. And, referring to JuD tweets on Kashmir Solidarity Day, another member of twittersphere said: ``Oye India! Can you not see we have shut our country down! Are you not scared!! Give us Kashmir!!’’