In statements, President Alvi and P.M. Khan call on international community to hold India accountable for its illegal actions in the disputed territory
Pakistan on Thursday marked Youm-e-Istehsal to express solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the second anniversary of Delhi unilaterally revoking the special constitutional status of India-held Kashmir.
On Aug. 5, 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government abrogated the autonomous status of the disputed territory, turning it into a virtual “open air” prison for residents who were blockaded in their homes to prevent them from exercising their right to protest the measures.
To register its protest, the Pakistan government organized several events to pledge its support to the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination, including solidarity walks in all major cities. The participants of the walks were seen wearing black armbands and carrying the flags of Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. A one-minute silence, and halt to traffic, was also observed nationwide at 9 a.m.
President Arif Alvi led the walk in capital Islamabad in the morning and vowed that no Pakistani citizen would rest until India-held Kashmir had been liberated. “Let me warn India that Pakistan is a strong nation,” he said, adding that Kashmir would have become a part of Pakistan at Partition in 1947 if India had not committed “wrongful” actions. He reiterated that Islamabad would not hold any dialogue with Delhi until it had reversed the decision of Aug. 5, 2019.
Alvi also called on the international community to fulfill its promises to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “The U.N. promised to grant the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir,” he said, warning that India was trying to alter the demographics of the region in a bid to justify its illegal actions.
The president also slammed Delhi over its refusal to allow third-party access to India-held Kashmir, saying the media was free to visit and report on the conditions in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, while it faced severe restrictions when attempting to do the same across the Line of Control.
In his message, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said India had tried to “obliterate” the distinct identity of the Kashmiri people through changes to the disputed region’s demographics. “These steps were forcefully rejected by Pakistan, the Kashmiris, and the international community,” he said, adding that repressive acts like extrajudicial killings, custodial torture, and destruction of private property had all failed to dent the resolve of the Kashmiri people.
“The international community, human rights organizations, international media and the civil society have called India out on its tyranny in the region,” he said and urged them to hold India accountable for its actions in Kashmir.
In a message marking Youm-e-Istehsal, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding commitment to the cause of a free Kashmir. He reiterated his calls to the international community, including the U.N. and global media, to hold India accountable for its crimes against the Kashmiri people.
“We will continue to extend all possible assistance to Kashmiris till the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination and a just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” he said.
Referring to the events of Aug. 5, 2019, he said they had provoked an unprecedented military siege and restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people to perpetuate India’s occupation. “Yet, India has failed to break the will of the Kashmiri people,” he added.
Highlighting India’s human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions, he also hit out at the attempts to alter demographics through changes to domicile rules and land ownership laws, stressing that this sought to convert the Kashmiris into a minority in their own land. This, he emphasized, was a violation of international law.
The prime minister said Pakistan had the utmost respect for the people of India-held Kashmir and their unparalleled courage, sacrifices and persistence in facing India’s tyranny to secure their legitimate right to self-determination. “All the unilateral and illegal actions taken by India in [India-held Kashmir], from the outset, the measures initiated on and after Aug. 5, 2019, and any additional unilateral changes that India may introduce in the future, are violations of international law, including the Security Council resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention, and ipso facto null and void,” he said.