Monday June 17, 2024

Kashmir Solidarity Day

By Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
February 05, 2019

The Kashmir Solidarity Day is observed by Pakistanis on February 5 each year. The day is a national holiday and is marked to show to the Kashmiris and the world at large that Pakistan and its people have not forgotten the long-pending issue that has resulted in three wars between the two neighbouring countries. Not only that, the festering problem has led to the barbaric killings of thousands of people in the Valley, including women and children.

As a national holiday, the occasion is marked by public processions and special prayers in mosques for the liberation of Kashmir and protests that are carried out against the Indian oppression of Kashmiris. The day is a closed holiday and one-minute silence is observed throughout the country. Also, special programmes are held to demonstrate complete solidarity with the Kashmiris. The occasion shows to the Kashmiris and the world at large that Pakistan and its people care about the long-pending issue that has resulted in several wars between the two neighbouring countries.

Officially, Pakistan began observing February 5 as the Kashmir Day to “reiterate solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir” in 2004. On January 31, 2004, speaking at a news conference, the-then Federal Minister for Kashmir and Northern Area Affairs had said 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 Jamali, visited Muzaffarabad on Feb 5 and addressed a joint session of the Legislative Assembly and Council.

Unfortunately, the torture by the Indian authorities in the held Valley has continued. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein kicked off a major storm in June last year on India’s human rights situation by releasing a report on Kashmir. “The political dimensions of the dispute between India and Pakistan have long been centre-stage, but this is not a conflict frozen in time. It is a conflict that has robbed millions of their basic human rights, and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering.

“This is why any resolution of the political situation in Kashmir must entail a commitment to end the cycles of violence and ensure accountability for past and current violations and abuses by all parties, and provide redress for victims.”

He also called on Indian security forces to exercise maximum restraint, and strictly abide by international standards governing the use of force when dealing with future protests, including ones that could well occur this coming weekend. “It is essential the Indian authorities take immediate and effective steps to avoid a repetition of the numerous examples of excessive use of force by security forces in Kashmir,” Zeid said.

The Kashmir issue remains an international dispute. However, because of its very weak case on the disputed Valley, India terms it a bilateral dispute and avoids internationalising the issue.