Pakistan vows ‘unflinching support’ on Kashmir Solidarity Day

Supporters of Pakistani Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) hold placards as they march during a demonstration to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day in Lahore on February 5, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 05 February 2020

Pakistan vows ‘unflinching support’ on Kashmir Solidarity Day

  • It’s been a battle of hope against overwhelming odds, President Alvi says in address to nation
  • National Assembly’s resolution calls on India to allow rights groups, media into the region

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan observed the Kashmir Solidarity Day across the nation on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan lambasted India for its “scant regard of basic human norms” in the disputed region.

It follows New Delhi’s decision to take away Jammu and Kashmir’s special autonomous status on August 5 last year, leading to a subsequent curfew and a complete lockdown in the area.

“The unprecedented length of these restrictions has fully exposed the ‘fiction’ of India’s democracy and its scant regard for basic human norms,” PM Khan said in his address to the nation on Wednesday to mark the occasion.

He added that Kashmiris, the Muslim Ummah, Pakistan, and the international community had “rejected India’s travesty of law and justice” whereby eight million Kashmiris had been “turned into prisoners in their own land through the deployment of over 900,000 occupation troops.”
Following up on its decision taken on August 5, India formally split the region into two federal territories on October 31, in an attempt to fully integrate it with the rest of the country.

Khan said that tens of thousands of innocent people had been “arbitrarily detained and thousands of young boys abducted and incarcerated at undisclosed locations.” 

“This is a true manifestation of Indian state-terrorism,” he said.

PM Khan was joined by President Arif Alvi who expressed solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, too.

“It has been a battle of hope against overwhelming odds, of courage against fear, and of sacrifice against tyranny; but through all of it, the Kashmiri people have persisted, unrelenting and proud as they have always been, to deny India the perverse gratification of subjugating them,” he said, before adding that New Delhi’s decision had “further strengthened the bond” between Pakistan and the people of the disputed region.
Earlier on Tuesday, the National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging India to reverse its decision and withdraw troops from the area.

The resolution calls on New Delhi to “immediately reverse and rescind its illegal action August 5, 2019, and October 31, 2019,” and withdraw “its occupation troops” from Indian-administered Kashmir and the Line of Control (LOC).

Tuesday’s resolution also asked India to lift a media ban in Kashmir with immediate effect, and allow the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and the international media into the region, “to assess and report the human rights situation there.”

It also requested the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to convene a special summit on Kashmir, and called on the United Nations to enforce a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, which provide for “a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.”

The Kashmir issue is “not just a territorial dispute but a question of people’s inherent right to self-determination,” NA Speaker Asad Qaiser said, as quoted in a statement released on Tuesday.

Qaiser added that “each and every Pakistani child stood with their Kashmiri brethren,” as he requested all citizens and the Pakistani media to observe Kashmir Solidarity Day on Wednesday.


General Bajwa, Bill Gates discuss Pakistan’s anti-polio campaign 

Updated 2 min 50 sec ago

General Bajwa, Bill Gates discuss Pakistan’s anti-polio campaign 

  • The American business tycoon praises the army for supporting the anti-polio drive and ensuring its reach and coverage 
  • The army chief passes on the credit to ‘grassroots workers’ 

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and American business tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates spoke on telephone about Pakistan’s COVID-19 response and resumption of anti-polio campaign, said an official handout prepared and circulated by the military’s public relations wing, ISPR, on Saturday.
Gates applauded the Pakistan Army for supporting the anti-polio drive and ensuring the program’s proper reach and coverage.
In response, the army chief said that the effort to make Pakistan polio-free was a “national cause,” adding that the credit for running an effective campaign went to “grassroots workers, including mobile teams, law enforcement agencies and healthcare representatives.”
The two also discussed how to carry out a safe anti-polio drive for everyone amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“​Mr. Gates also appreciated Pakistan’s success against COVID-19 despite resource constraints,” said the statement. “The COAS attributed the success to a true national response executed through the mechanism of [National Command and Operation Center] which allowed optimization of resources.”
The American businessman reiterated the Gates Foundation’s ongoing commitment “to fight pandemics” around the world and to support Pakistan in its goals of ending polio and improving health for every child.