After the Indian minister of state for home affairs, G. Kishan Reddy, recently claimed in Indian parliament that Kashmiris, after the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019, were increasingly participating in ordinary life, children had returned to schools, security was under control and communications had largely been restored, observing the Kashmir Solidarity Day by Pakistan on February 5 each year has become even more important. As a national holiday, the day is marked to prove 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. And the situation has become even more dangerous on the LoC after the recent one-sided Indian actions.
Officially, Pakistan began observing February 5 as the Kashmir Day in 2004 to “reiterate solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.” It is a national holiday marked by public processions and special prayers in mosques while one-minute silence is observed throughout the country. Special programmes are held to demonstrate complete solidarity with the Kashmiris.
After the revocation of Article 370, India is now planning to bring Hindus from all over the country and settle them in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. In this regard, they are giving ‘rights of permanent residence or semi-permanent residence’ to Hindus disguised as “West Pakistan refugees from Azad Kashmir.” Through the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act (SARFESI Act), the BJP government is illegally attaching properties of indigenous Kashmiris and giving them to non-resident Hindus or non-Kashmiris.
While India has been calling the repeal of Article 370 and Article 35A of its constitution as something which ended the special status of the Jammu and Kashmir state, the held Valley did not have a special status ever. It is on the UN agenda, is a disputed territory and under stark Indian occupation.
After the revocation of Article 370, the international community has started showing interest in the dispute; the international media, civil society and human rights organizations are leading from the front for the sacred cause. Many European leaders and American Congressmen and senators are also questioning the Indian account and brutal suppression of the people of the Valley.
According to former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, “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.” That adequately sums the status of the lingering issue.
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