Pakistan stands firmly with Kashmiris: President Alvi

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ISLAMABAD  As Pakistan observes the 73rd Independence Day as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ on Wednesday to express solidarity with the people of occupied-Kashmir and outline their sufferings under oppression by Indian troops, President Arif Alvi said that Pakistan has always stood with Kashmiris and would continue to do so.

As the guest of honour, the president addressed a flag hoisting ceremony at the convention centre in Islamabad, and stated: “Today the world is watching how the people of Pakistan are standing by the side of their Kashmiri brothers.”

“India’s acts has prompted Pakistan to take Kashmir dispute to the United Nations Security Council […] India has no right to change the status of Kashmir,” he said, adding that the state of India has violated all UN resolutions related to the Kashmir dispute.

“The people of Kashmir reserve the right to decide about their future and India must immediately halt oppression and state terrorism in IoK.”

President Arif Alvi demanded the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), human rights organisations to put efforts for resolution of Kashmir dispute.

“We share the pain of the people of Kashmir […] India must not forget that Kashmir dispute is between three parties,” the president stated, adding Indian moves in the occupied Kashmir have negated all provisions of the Shimla Agreement.

“Kashmir has been turned into the ‘most densely militarised zone’ [in the world] as India has deployed nine lakh soldiers […] Pakistan will not retreat if war is waged against the country,” he warned India about any possible misadventures in the region.

“We are for Kashmiris and they are for us […] their plight and affliction affects us and we will not leave them alone at any step,” the president said.

“We have remained with them, we are with them today and will continue to do so.”

President Arif Alvi demanded human rights arm of the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to constitute an inquiry commission to probe the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

He said the communications blackout and curbs on the freedom of expression “is a serious violation of human rights”.

The president demanded India to stop the brutal oppression on the people of Kashmir, grant communication access, and restore civic and social liberties of the people of the occupied territory.

He said India has also been violating the ceasefire agreements by firing and shelling on civilian populations along Line of Control (LoC).

“Pakistan is a peace loving country and wants message of peace in love. It wants to resolve the issue of Kashmir through negotiations and dialogue. However, India should not misunderstand our policy of peace as our weakness.”

“We don’t want a war but we will fully defend ourselves if war is waged against us […] the war will not be limited between the countries, instead its impact will be felt across the whole world.”

The president also asked the nation to fully utilise the social media to expose the heinous crimes being committed by India in Kashmir.

Dr Arif Alvi appealed youth of the nation to value the country as a blessing and never forget the sacrifices of our great leaders. He urged the youth to devote themselves to the development and reconstruction of the country. He also asked them to be proud of their social values.

The president paid rich tributes to sacrifices and dedication of armed forces of Pakistan.

Other political leaders including National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan were also present on the occasion.

Mashaal Malik, wife of detained Kashmiri leader Mohammad Yasin Malik, also addressed the ceremony during which she shared a poem she wrote about the freedom struggle of people under Indian occupation in Kashmir.

Other flag hoisting ceremonies will be held in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.

The day dawned with a 31-gun salute in the capital and 21-gun salutes in the provincial capitals, as well as a major event in Islamabad in which top government functionaries and armed forces’ officials took part.

Meanwhile, change of guards ceremonies were held at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi and Allama Iqbal in Lahore.

According to Radio Pakistan, a “smartly turned out contingent of the cadets of the Pakistan Naval Academy assumed the guards’ duties,” adding that Commodore Irfan Taj of the Pakistan Navy was the chief guest of the ceremony.

President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, while greeting the nation on the Independence Day, have called for unity and harmony to face the challenges and issues confronted by the country for achieving the national objectives of progress and prosperity.

In his message regarding the occasion of 73rd Independence Day, the President said Independence Day also reinvigorates the spirit of patriotism and strengthens the passion to take the national flag to further heights.

The President said the Indian government should realise that with the use of such state aggression and absurd measures, the movement for freedom in the occupied Kashmir could not be suppressed.

He also paid tribute to all the martyred people said the day remains us of the unmatched sacrifices rendered by our forefathers to protect and safeguard our religious, cultural and social values.

He paid tribute to the sons of soil who sacrificed their lives while protecting ideological and geographical boundaries of the motherland and kept aloft the banner of its freedom.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his message on the Independence Day, stated that for Pakistan’s development and prosperity, everyone has to play his/her part.

PM Khan said following Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s guidelines, the nation could overcome challenges.

The premier is scheduled to visit Muzaffarabad today where he will address the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.

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