— Foreign Office laments occupied Himalayan region remains ‘under worst form of military siege’
ISLAMABAD: As people of Kashmir living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and around the globe observed Martyrs Day on Wednesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the day is a reminder of the sacrifices Muslims in the Indian-occupied region rendered for their inalienable and UN-sanctioned right to self-determination.
The day is celebrated on July 13 in commemoration of a gory incident in 1931 on the same day, when 22 Muslim protestors were killed while they were protesting the sedition case against Abdul Qadeer, a resident of British India, who was being tried on the charge of sedition for inciting the people against the Dogra ruler at a gathering in Khanqah-i-Moula, a mosque located in the Old City of Srinagar, on June 21.
In a tweet, the prime minister said the flame of freedom from New Delhi’s occupation has been kept alive by the generations “in the face of Indian tyranny and oppression”.
Kashmir Martyrs’ Day is a reminder of sacrifices Kashmiris have rendered for their inalienable & UN-sanctioned right to self-determination. The flame of freedom from the Indian yoke has been kept alive by the generations of Kashmiris in the face of Indian tyranny & oppression.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 13, 2022
Since 1931, the people of Kashmir observed Youm-i-Shuhada every year. The incident marked the beginning of the modern-era freedom struggle which has traversed through different phases including civilian protests and political and armed struggle.
Interestingly, until 2019, the day was also observed in occupied Kashmir. However, in December 2019, four months after revoking the special status of the disputed region, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government removed this day from the region’s official holiday list.
According to Kashmir Media Service, a complete strike is being observed across the held territory today as part of the week-long protest calendar, a call for which has been given by the joint resistance leadership.
A call for the strike was also given by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and supported by all pro-freedom organisations to commemorate the day.
Mourners will assemble at the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Naqshband Sahab in Srinagar to offer prayer for the dead.
‘WORST MILITARY SIEGE’
A Foreign Office statement said the government and people of Pakistan “solemnly observed” the day and paid homage to the martyrs who rendered the ultimate sacrifice while braving the indiscriminate force unleashed on them.
“On this sombre day, we join our Kashmiri brethren on either side of the Line of Control in commemorating the contribution of the martyrs of 1931,” it said in a statement.
“Regretfully, Kashmiris are still struggling against India’s illegal occupation. Even today, the 900,000-strong Indian occupation forces continue to hold hostage the Kashmiri people under the worst form of military siege to perpetuate their wrongful occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The statement mentioned also recalled India’s “illegal and unilateral” revocation of the special status of occupied Kashmir on August 5, 2019, a step it said was yet another attempt to strip the people of Kashmir of their distinct identity and turn them into a minority in their own homeland.
Since then, more than 640 people, mostly Muslim, have been killed in staged encounters. 120 have been killed in cold blood this year alone, it said.
“As we honour the invaluable sacrifice of the heroes of 1931 as well as all innocent Kashmiris who have laid down their lives in this just struggle, Pakistan once again urges India to immediately halt its state-terrorism in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK),” the statement said.
The Foreign Office urged India to cease all rights violations, release all political prisoners, lift the inhumane military siege, stop its attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, and let the people exercise their legitimate right to self-determination.
“We also call upon the international community, international human rights organizations, and particularly the United Nations and its human rights mechanism to take cognisance of the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in the region and ensure peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the people,” it said.
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