Supporters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic organisation shout slogans during a rally to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day in Lahore yesterday.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif extended an invitation to the Indian leadership yesterday to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue on Kashmir Solidarity Day.
Addressing the legislative assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, the premier said conflicts and uncertainty would linger on in the region if the Kashmir dispute wasn’t resolved.
“We invite India to engage in a comprehensive sustained and result-oriented dialogue process,” he added.
Sharif also urged the international community to play its due role in securing for Kashmiris their right to self-determination.
He said the government and the people of Pakistan were observing Kashmir Solidarity Day, adding, “This is an occasion to reiterate our firm support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.”
“On this day we reaffirm our resolve to stand by our brothers and sisters in their valiant struggle for their just cause. The peaceful people of Jammu and Kashmir continue to suffer. Not only the right to self-determination is being denied to them but they are also being subjected to the worst kind of human rights abuses, violence and suppression,” he added.
Sharif said thousands of Kashmiris had lost their lives and thousands more were languishing in Indian jails, adding that atrocities and humiliations had not deterred them from a cause cased on their legitimate aspiration of their right of self determination as enshrined in the United Nations (UN) charter and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Sharif said Pakistan would continue playing its constructive role towards peaceful solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, I reaffirm Pakistan’s firm commitment to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the protection of their fundamental rights”, he added.
“We will always stand by our Kashmiri brethren until the realisation of their right to self determination,” he said.
Separately, he said promotion of trade through the Line of Control
(LoC) would further bolster peace in the region, adding that it would also strengthen ties with Kashmir.
Nationwide rallies staged
Pakistanis staged rallies and demonstrations across the country yesterday to express solidarity with Kashmiris struggling for independence from India.
About a dozen rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 either for Kashmir’s independence or for its merger with Pakistan.
In Muzaffarabad, capital of Kashmir, around 1,000 people formed a human chain to express solidarity with what they called freedom fighters in the Indian-administered sector.
In Islamabad around 2,000 people attended a rally organised by the religious-political party Jamaat-i-Islami in front of parliament.
A separate demonstration in the capital was led by religious scholar Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, who heads a committee set up by Taliban militants for peace talks with the government.
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