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Solidarity with Kashmiris main feature of Defence Day

ISLAMABAD: The nation will express full solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiri brethren in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) while celebrating the Defence Day of Pakistan on Friday (today). Prime Minister Imran Khan took the decision in view of the worst human rights situation after the revocation of the special status of IHK by the Modi-led Indian government.

A statement issued by the interior ministry said all government offices will close at 3pm today to commemorate the Defence Day and express solidarity with Kashmiris who have been under lockdown for the past month, with the IHK wearing the picture of a garrison.

The day's activities will also include visiting the families of martyrs as well as monuments built in their memory. Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said the world could not feign ignorance, as it did at Munich in 1938, as the fascist, Hindu-supremacist design of the Modi government with its ethnic cleansing & genocide of Muslims’ agenda in IOJK, in India itself (Assam) & beyond into AJK is now overt for all the world to see.

In a tweet, the prime minister said, “India’s violation of all international laws, including humanitarian laws, is there for the world to see. So why is the world silent? Is the international community's humanity dead when Muslims are being persecuted? What message is being sent to 1.3 billion Muslims across the world?”

In another tweet he said,“Hospitals have run out of medical supplies; basic necessities are in short supply but a communication blackout has deprived Kashmiris of voice to the outside world & their families. Despite this, tales of horror are finding their way into the international media.”

“Today is the 32nd day of the siege of IOJK by the Indian occupation forces of the Modi government. Under cover of this siege, the Indian forces have killed, injured (with pellet guns), abused Kashmiri men, women & children. Men have been taken away & thrown into prisons across India”.

Meanwhile, talking to a 10-member Omani parliamentary delegation led by Sheikh Khalid bin Hilal Nasser Al Maawali, Chairman of the Majles A’Shura of Sultanate of Oman, the prime minister said the international community had the responsibility to pressurise India to halt and reverse its illegal actions and remove the indefensible lockdown in the IHK.

The delegation is on a five-day visit at the invitation of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser. Imran highlighted Pakistan’s deep concern over the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in the IHK due to month-long lockdown and communications blackout in the occupied territory.

He emphasised the importance of immediate lifting of curfew, removal of restrictions on movement and communications, and respect for the fundamental rights of Kashmiri people. He underscored that India’s actions were a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and international law.

He said there was a genuine fear of a false flag operation to divert world’s attention from India’s illegal actions and intensified repression of Kashmiris which had created grave risks for peace and security in the region.

The prime minister informed the delegation that the policy of the Indian government was to marginalize the Muslims, and to change the demographic structure of the IOJ&K. Sheikh Khalid bin Hilal thanked the prime minister for apprising his delegation of the worsening situation in the IHK, plight of Kashmiris, and implications of Indian actions and continuous lockdown.

Expressing concern over these developments, he affirmed support for efforts for alleviation of the suffering of Kashmiri people and for a peaceful solution. In a related development, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Ahmed M Al-Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa here.

Matters of mutual interest, including growing bilateral ties and security situation in the region, were discussed, the ISPR in a press release said. The COAS highlighted that Pakistan was proud of its special strategic and brotherly relationship with Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The visiting dignitaries appreciated Pakistan’s role for peace and stability in the region and assured of their full support to resolve the situation created by India’s unilateral steps in Indian Held Jammu and Kashmir (IHJ&K).

Meanwhile, in their separate messages on the Defence and Martyrs Day, President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan’s armed forces were fully modernised and capable of defeating any internal, external adventurism and Pakistan was prepared to give the enemy fullest possible response.

President Dr Arif Alvi, in his message, emphatically stated that in addition to being fully modernised, Pakistan’s Armed Forces were imbued with the spirit of patriotism and sacrifice and were capable of defeating any internal and external adventurism.

“The world has already witnessed their capabilities in February this year, when they effectively and swiftly responded to Indian intrusion and made it clear to the world that their hearts were still charged with September [1965] spirit and they will go to any extent to safeguard the freedom, integrity and sovereignty of the motherland,” he said.

He also reiterated the country’s solidarity with Kashmiri brethren and renewed resolve that they would continue to support their right to self-determination.

“We will continue raising their just struggle for freedom at all levels and platforms, he added. The president said Indian brutalities and cruelties could not suppress their spirit of freedom. Undoubtedly, Held Jammu & Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory,” he added.

“There are many Security Council resolutions on the Kashmir dispute and it should be resolved according to those resolutions. Therefore, Indian unilateral actions in this regard have no significance and we do not accept these fascist actions,” he added.

The president said the serious notice by the Security Council of Indian barbarism in Held Jammu & Kashmir was a reflection of that fact. “Surely, the world has realized that this conflict is the biggest danger to the world peace, he added.

He said September 6 dawned every year with remembrance of national spirit and for renewal of our resolve to lay down our lives for our beloved motherland. “54 years ago, our valiant Armed Forces, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the nation, immortalized this day as a symbol of courage, bravery, sacrifice and national integrity by thwarting the evil designs of the enemy.”

The president further said, “Inspired by those proud moments, we have successfully confronted various internal challenges and defeated external conspiracies and by imbibing us with the passion for self-sufficiency, September spirit has made our independence and sovereignty invincible.”

He said Pakistan was a peaceful nation and had rendered enormous sacrifices for world peace. He said Pakistan desired friendly relations with all its neighbors.

“Moreover, sustainable peace in Afghanistan is our biggest desire and for this we fully support the ongoing reconciliation efforts. Today, apart from external threats, Pakistan is also facing various internal challenges. Remember, strong economy and economic prosperity alone can guarantee a prosperous Pakistan,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his message, said the Pakistani nation was fully alive to any kind of misadventure by the enemy and was prepared to give enemy the fullest possible response.

“I have informed the world that Pakistan does not want war, but at the same time, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the challenges posed to its security and integrity. We are prepared to give the enemy the fullest possible response,” the prime minister said.

He said the armed forces, the Pakistani nation, the political leadership, both the Houses of Parliament, the mainstream and social media all were in one voice against India’s illegal, unilateral, reckless and coercive attempt to alter the disputed status of Indian Held Kashmir.

He said September 6, the Defence Day of Pakistan, stood out in the history of Pakistan as a symbol of enduring display of unity, indomitable courage and unmatched sacrifices by our gallant soldiers.

He said the Pakistani soldiers, on this day, years ago, had proved to the world that the country’s defence was unassailable and the valiant armed forces were ever ready to defend every inch of the motherland.

“In the 1965 war, the valour of our armed forces and the spirit of the people presented a true picture of oneness and coordination, discipline and perseverance. Both the people and the men in uniform proved that it’s not the size that matters but what matters the most is the courage and devotion to duty,” the prime minister remarked while paying compliments to the brave forces who have ensured the safety and security of the motherland in all testing times and offered exemplary sacrifices in the pursuance of peace.

“Our shuhada and Ghazis are our heroes and the nation owes them gratitude and respect. I salute the gallant sons of soil, who laid down their lives while defending Pakistan, and pay respect to their families for unparalleled sacrifices they rendered for our tomorrow, the prime minister said.

He said even today, Pakistan was facing a similar situation with the enemy once again showing aggressive postures on the Line of Control and had unleashed reign of terror on innocent and unarmed people of the Held Valley after changing the status of Kashmir by abolishing Articles 370 and 35-A in violation of the UN Charter.

He said for Pakistan, Kashmir stood as its jugular vein and altering its status posed challenges to Pakistan’s security and integrity.

“The fascist government is hell bent upon suppressing the Kashmiri people’s just struggle against India’s illegitimate occupation, denying them their right to self-determination permissible under the UN Resolutions. Besides, the Muslims across India faced detention camps and cancellation of citizenship because of the Hindutva ideology.”

He told the nation that he had called upon the world community to take note of the doctrine of hate and genocide and push India to stop it forthwith.

He also urged upon the international community to seriously consider the safety and security of India’s nuclear arsenal that was in the control of a racist and Hindu supremacist government because this was an issue that impacted not just the South Asian region but the whole world.

Imran said Pakistan had launched a proactive diplomatic activity in the world capitals as well as in the UN to expose the true face of today’s radicalized India.

Failing, the world community will be responsible for the catastrophic aftermath. We will never leave our Kashmiri brethren alone, come what may; we will continue our moral, political and diplomatic support for their inalienable right to self-determination within the framework of UN resolutions, the prime minister resolved.

He said he had full confidence in his valiant armed forces which were capable enough of giving befitting response to any kind of aggression by the enemy. He said Pakistan had already displayed a very high standard of professionalism in the recent past and it continued to do so when challenged.

“While remembering today the 1965 War heroes, we pay homage to our shuhada and ghazis and draw inspiration from their iconic acts of valour and sacrifices,” he said.

Under the same September spirit, the prime minister said the nation and the armed forces were determined to defend every inch of the motherland and safeguard the security and sovereignty of Pakistan at all costs.

Meanwhile, DG Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said national spirit was must for defence of the country adding that living nations always remembered their martyrs.

He told a private TV channel that the families of martyrs were first priority of the armed forces adding that it was also duty of the nation to take care of families of martyrs.

He told a private television channel that the main ceremony in connection with the Defence Day to pay tributes to martyrs would be held at the GHQ at 8.30am on Friday. “I will request the people to watch live telecast of the ceremony,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the ceremony. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa will meet families of martyrs and also lay floral wreaths at Yadgar-e-Shuhada.

Gen Asif Ghafoor said there was no match of Pakistani nation, armed forces and country in the world adding that they were proud of their institution of armed forces.

“The army chief has also stated that he is commander-in-chief of the great force,” he said. General Asif Ghafoor said the whole nation had given sacrifices in the war against terrorism adding that 81,000 civilians and officers and jawans of armed forces had sacrificed their lives for the cause.

“The number of civilian martyrs are more than the martyrs of armed forces,” he said. He said the armed forces had been fighting for Kashmir for the last 72 years and the fight would continue till the Kashmiris get their right to self-determination.

At the same time, he regretted that the international community was not paying attention to the issue, which it deserved. To a question, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan had also appreciated the armed forces for taking care of welfare of martyrs adding that a major chunk of fund of welfare departments is spent on families of Shuhada.

He said the present government had worked tremendously on the diplomatic front to highlight Kashmir issue at the international level adding that protest demonstrations had been staged in several countries against fascism of Modi and his August 5 action and over one-month lockdown in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).

He said the Indian forces were continuously targeting civilian population along the LoC but it could not deter resolve of Pakistan Army and people. “We are ready to give a befitting response to India in case of any aggression,” he added. He appealed to people from all walks of life to reach out to families of martyrs in every city, town and village on September 6.

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