PM Sharif pays tribute to Kashmiris for the fight for “freedom”

On Wednesday, on Youm-i-Shuhada-i-Kashmir (Kashmir Martyrs Day), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif paid tribute to the Kashmiris, praising the fact that despite the threat of Indian violence and wrath, they had maintained the “flame of freedom.”

On July 13 in 1931, swarms of Kashmiris stood outside Central Jail in Srinagar. Here, Abdul Qadeer, was being tried for having encouraged Kashmiris to come out against the Dogra ruler on June 21 in the same year in Khanqah-i-Muallah.

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A man from the crowds who stood to call out the Azan was murdered by the police and so was the next man. A total of 22 men who rose for this purpose were killed.

Although Kashmir Martyrs Day to commemorate these men was previously observed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), this was brought to an end in December 2019 by the BJP government after it had revoked the valley’s special status.

PM Shehbaz tweeted: “Kashmir Martyrs Day is a reminder of sacrifices Kashmiris have rendered for their inalienable and UN-sanctioned right to self-determination. The flame of freedom from the Indian yoke has been kept alive by generations of Kashmiris in the face of Indian tyranny and oppression.”

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Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz also said: “Our hearts beat with the brave Kashmiris.”

According to a statement of the Foreign Office (FO), Pakistan was observing Kashmir Martyrs Day, paying tribute to the 22 Kashmiris and their “ultimate sacrifice while braving the indiscriminate force unleashed on them in 1931 by the Dogra forces.”

The FO “commemorat[ed] the contribution of the martyrs of 1931.” At the same time, it expresses sadness over the ongoing struggle of the Kashmiri brethren held hostage by the 900,000 strong Indian occupation forces “to perpetuate their wrongful occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.”

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It recalled “India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019” which “were yet another attempt to strip the Kashmiri people of their distinct identity and turn them into a minority in their own land.”

Furthermore, it mentioned the 640 Kashmiri martyrs from the extra-judicial killings and that this year, 120 have been “martyred in cold blood.” It also recalled the scrapping of “the regional public holiday on Kashmir Martyrs Day” and “the traditional guard of honour ceremony at the Martyrs Graveyard.”

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The statement said that “Pakistan once again urges India to immediately halt its state terrorism in IIOJK, cease all human rights violations, release all political prisoners, lift the inhuman military siege, stop its attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, and let the Kashmiri people exercise their legitimate right to self-determination.”

It requested the international community, and global human rights organisations, to ponder on the circumstances in IIOJK and to help in achieving a peaceful resolution, according to what the Kashmiris desired and the UNSC resolutions set down.

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