‘Pakistan to accelerate diplomatic efforts on Kashmir’

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his government will accelerate efforts to inform the world about India’s actions in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing lawmakers in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, also known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Wednesday, he proposed setting up a committee of Pakistani and Kashmiri leaders across the Line of Control (LoC) to take the

Kashmir issue to the next level.

“It is now our job to inform the world. I assure you we will speed this up. On every forum we should remind the people that 80 million people are under lockdown,” he said.

He told AJK legislators to hold a meeting and formulate a plan for launching a diplomatic blitzkrieg.

“They [AJK leaders] should then meet us and we can make a committee to take the Kashmir issue to the next level. Our biggest power is our overseas Pakistanis and Kashmiris. We will get the diaspora to reach out to MPs in the world and inform them about

Kashmir,“ he added.

On eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day, observed on Wednesday, rallies and public meetings were held across Pakistan.

The day observed on Feb. 5 every year has become an annual affair since the early 90s to express solidarity with people across the LoC, demanding the right to self-determination for the disputed region.

As a national holiday, the day began with special prayers in the mosques and one-minute silence, which was observed throughout the country at 10 a.m. local time [0300GMT].

In Islamabad, the key ceremony was held near the parliament house, where parliamentarians, and a large number of students, formed a human chain.

A government delegation led by Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan visited the office of the UN in Islamabad and handed over a memorandum on the current situation.

Jama’at-e-Islami, a mainstream religious political party, which began observing Feb. 5 as Kashmir Day in 1990, held rallies across the country, including a human chain in Karachi to express solidarity with the freedom struggle. A boat rally was also held in the Arabian Sea to mark the day.

President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, in their separate messages reiterated their country’s “unflinching support” to Kashmiris.

Prime Minister of AJK, Raja Farooq Haider urged the UN to implement its resolutions concerning the right of self-determination for the Kashmiri population.

Pakistan missions across the world also organized functions and photo exhibitions to highlight the Kashmiris’ struggle, according to state-run Pakistan Television.

Kashmir Solidarity Day in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, Kashmiri students demanded the restoration of the internet and communication facility so that they can communicate with their families.

The internet blackout which was imposed on Aug. 5 last year is now the longest on record and has left people’s lives, jobs and the economy shattered, according to various human rights groups.

On Jan. 10, the Indian Supreme Court had ordered Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to restore internet services within a week.

The government did restore communication serves partially, but they have not brought any relief to people in the region as the connectivity is severely limited and social media websites are still off-limits.

Kashmir dispute

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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