London [UK]: Kashmiris living in different parts of the world organised protests outside Pakistan’s high commissions and consulates to condemn Islamabad’s fake narrative on Kashmir and denounce Pakistan’s propoganda of marking February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day.
As Pakistan declared a national holiday to justify its propaganda on Kashmir, the Kashmiris, especially those belonging to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan showed their anger against Pakistan.
Protests were held in London, Bradford, Brussels and different cities across PoK and Gilgit Baltistan.
In Bradford, the protesters outside the Consulate of Pakistan raised slogans against Islamabad, demanding rights for the people of PoK. They demanded free electricity, employment, and better education facilities for those living in the occupied territory..
The protest organised by the Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance had banners like ‘We Stand with the People’s Rights Movement in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan.’
Sajid Hussain, Secretary Information, United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) Europe Zone, said, ‘We are facing terrorism and extremism. United Jihad Council, an umbrella organisation of 16 banner terror outfits are running from Muzaffarabad and they are threatening and forcing us to not hold protests against Pakistan’.
‘We are fighting for our rights under the shadow of terrorism,’ said Hussain.
Jamil Maqsood, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, UKPNP said, ‘All these demands come under constitutional, legal, and just rights – be it protest against unfair taxes imposed in electricity bills, or the policy of depriving the people of flour, and the demand for subsidy on flour, and the related issues. The condition of roads, hospitals and educational institutions, bridges, is in front of us.’
Earlier, protests were held in parts of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan against Pakistan’s so-called Kashmir Solidarity Day.
Sardar Liaqat Hayat while addressing a protest demonstration in Muzaffarabad said, ‘This united protest of the people of POK is an example of defiance against the atrocities of Pakistan. They have raised their voice along with the Awami Action Committee (AAC) against Pakistan; the successful shutterdown strike is an example of Ultimatum given by us to the Pakistani administration’.
‘The people here are not standing here to support AAC, they are not here to support me or anyone else. These people are here as they are fed up with huge bills of electricity, the people are here to demand their own rights,’ Hayat added.
While raising the matter of wheat subsidies, Hayat said, ‘We are not demanding a targeted wheat subsidy. As such a subsidy will mean that you are separating us, and giving us the subsidy as a charity. This is not acceptable to us at any cost’.
He further said ‘Wheat subsidy is not a charity, it is our right, as water from our lands flows to the Punjab province, and using this water they produce wheat. That is why we all must be given a wheat subsidy as it is our right. Hence there will be no talks around targeted subsidy’.
Another leader from the Joint Awami Action Committee, Shaukat Nawaz Mir while addressing another protest said, ‘This is absolutely correct; our protest started, demanding cheaper what and electricity, and we are still demanding that. They keep saying that after the discussion sessions, we are not demanding these two anymore. Anyone who has any doubts is welcome to come and see that they are still protesting for our demands.’
‘Since the start, we have demanded that the dams that are operational in PoK are ours; this region is ours; and the rights to the dams here should be ours. They are our assets. And that is why claiming that right, we have put forward the demand of fair bills. This issue was never raised by the so-called administrators of the POK. As they have been enjoying these resources for the last 76 years.’
The state of Pakistan, including the puppet government of PoK has been observing Kashmir Solidarity Day (KSD) for the past 35 years by spending huge funds on organising rallies, seminars, and other programmes by coercing government employees, and educational institutions to participate in KSD programmes.
These programmes are mostly organised by pro-accession political parties, politico-religious parties like JeI and JUI, and reportedly banned terrorist outfits operating in the guise of pseudo-names.
The PoK government put on gloves with terrorist outfits and issued instructions to all government departments, including educational institutions, to ensure the participation of staff and students in KSD programmes.
Indications suggest that the PoK government and establishment as well as terrorist outfits to some extent succeeded in denting the People’s Rights Day which was also scheduled on February 5.
People’s Rights Day leaders alleged that the Pakistani drama of Kashmir Solidarity Day is aimed at legitimising the illegal Pak occupation of PoK and GB where people are deprived of their basic needs, including wheat flour, drinking water, and electricity.
They accused Pakistan’s government of ruling these territories through colonial laws and a colonial mindset.