Barbed-wire placed by security personnel stretches across a Srinagar street in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Aug. 11, 2019. Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan complained bitterly about what he described as repeated rebuffs from India over Kashmir. And he raised the threat of military escalation. (Atul Loke/The New York Times)

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Tuesday, shared a video message in the observance of Kashmir Black Day, reiterating his commitment to speaking up for the Kashmiri right to self-determination.

27th October marks the 73rd anniversary of the illegal occupation of Kashmir by Indian forces.

“I will keep reminding the world of the pain and suffering of Kashmiris,” the Prime Minister said.

He spoke of the climate of suppression in the besieged territory of Kashmir, bringing light to incidents of state-sponsored terrorism like extra-judicial killings, media blackouts and the discovery of mass graves. He also spoke of state-sponsored terrorism carried out by India in Pakistan, which he would reveal later.

Referring to the Indian government’s revocation of Kashmir’s autonomous status on 5th August 2019, through the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A on the Indian Constitution, the Prime Minister likened occupied Kashmir to an “open prison” for Kashmiri people.

The Prime Minister maintained that peace is the only viable option for stability in the region, and Pakistan is still open to “taking two steps forward” to every one step by India on the condition that Kashmir is lifted from under siege.

“The military siege in Kashmir will have to end and the people of the valley need to be given the right to self-determination” according to the directives of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the wishes of the international community, he said.

In a message shared by President Arif Alvi, the President referred to the occupation of  Kashmir as “illegal and unilateral actions” that have been “rejected by the Kashmiri people, by Pakistan, and by the International Community for being in violation of International Law, relevant UNSC resolutions, and India’s own solemn commitments made bilaterally to Pakistan as well as to the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

“In August 2019, India moved to alter the disputed status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir and change its demographic structure. The illegal and unilateral Indian actions have been rejected by the Kashmiri people, by Pakistan, and by the international community for violating international laws, UNSC resolutions, and India’s own commitments made bilaterally to Pakistan and the people of Kashmir,” he said.

The President assured the Kashmiri people that Pakistan honours their sacrifices and offers unflinching solidarity to them during this dark time.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi shared a statement calling for “urgent lifting of the military siege and media blackout, immediate stop to the violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people, release of Kashmiri leaders and youth, and an end to the impunity granted to Indian occupation forces under draconian laws.”

He urged the international community to also play its role in uplifting the Kashmiri people and calling India to end its illegal occupation in Kashmir.

Other Pakistani politicians also expressed their solidarity with the Kashmiri cause in observance of Black Day.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, in a series of tweets, highlighted the atrocities suffered by Kashmiris at the hands of Indian forces.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called 27th October the “darkest day in history” and emphasised the necessity of resolving the Kashmir issue for lasting peace in the region.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri also urged the United Nations to “strictly implement the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and take strict notice of ongoing Indian atrocities in the occupied territory,” according to Radio Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said that “Pakistan will continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris for their just cause of right to self-determination.”


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