ISLAMABAD: As the country marks the first anniversary of India’s illegal annexation of held Kashmir, President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday lashed out at New Delhi for stripping the disputed Muslim-majority region of its semi-autonomous status, declaring that “India has learned how to change the demography from Israel”.
To mark the event, the government had decided to celebrate Aug 5 (today) as Youm-i-Istehsal (Day of Exploitation) to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir and expose the Indian atrocities being committed in the valley. In this regard, a rally was taken out in Islamabad to demonstrate Pakistan’s resolve in the face of state aggression in the region which Pakistan claims in full.
The demonstration was attended by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi among other senators and officials. Addressing the participants of the gathering, President Alvi said: “India’s high-ups made many promises to Kashmiris and Pakistan but none of those promises were fulfilled.”
“They signed the Simla Agreement  with us in which it was decided that [both countries] will hold bilateral dialogue, but to date, India has refused to hold talks. Whenever the issue was raised on multilateral forums, India made excuses saying that it was a bilateral issue but they are not ready to talk.”
He said that Pakistan did not accept Article 370 — which provided special status to the occupied region — originally as well because “we want the independence of Kashmir since it is not part of India”. Narendra Modi’s government, he lamented, repealed the law and changed Article 35(a) last year.
“If, over the past year, Kashmiris had appreciated the move [of repealing the region’s special status], India would not have to impose a lockdown in [occupied Kashmir],” President Alvi declared.
He stressed that the Pakistan government had always striven for peace. Even after India violated Pakistani airspace on the “false reaction on Pulwama” blast, Pakistan returned the captured Indian airforce pilot Abhinandan “to show to the world and India that we want peace, not war”.
The president demanded the United Nations Security Council, where resolutions have been passed regarding the Kashmir issue, to fulfill its promises.
Alvi further said that the press should be given free access to Indian occupied Kashmir. “If the situation is peaceful then press should have complete freedom to report from the occupied region. He also demanded that the changes introduced by the Indian government against the Geneva Convention and UN rules should be withdrawn.
He also appealed to the international community and world bodies, including the OIC, to take note of the barbaric actions of the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir. He assured that Pakistan will continue peaceful efforts for the Kashmir cause.
Rallies are being taken out across the country to condemn the Indian government’s decision to strip occupied Kashmir’s special status and its ongoing atrocities against the residents of the region.
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF KASHMIR ANNEXATION:
Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Muzzafarabad and address a special session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly.
Before his address, the premier will lead a symbolic walk from the helipad to the nearby Legislative Assembly premises, with AJK President Sardar Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and other dignitaries and civil servants among its participants.
On the assembly premises, Imran will also lay the foundation stone of a monument to the martyrs of the Kashmir freedom movement.
He will also hold meetings with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) representatives and heads of different parliamentary parties in the AJK legislature.