Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. File photo
Tariq Butt / IANS
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday called on all Pakistanis to take part in "Kashmir Hour” being observed on Friday at 12pm, to send a strong message of solidarity to Kashmiris.
"I want all Pakistanis to come out tomorrow 12 noon-12.30pm to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people and send the Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir a clear message that the entire Pakistani nation stands in solidarity with them and against Indian fascist oppression, the inhumane 24-day curfew, the daily injuring and killing of Kashmiri civilians, including women & children - all part of the ethnic cleansing agenda of the Modi government and its illegal annexation of IoK," Imran said in a Twitter post.
"The plan to change demography of IoK is a war crime under 4th Geneva Convention. We must send a strong message to Kashmiris that our nation stands resolutely behind them. So I am asking all Pakistanis for half an hour tomorrow, stop whatever you are doing and come out on the road to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people.”
India's government decided on Aug.5 to repeal of Article 370 of the Indian constitution, that granted occupied Kashmir special status. The government instituted a security lockdown and communications blackout to avoid violence. The clampdown is now on its 25th day.
While addressing the nation on occupied Kashmir on Monday, Imran Khan announced that an event will be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people, starting with Friday (Aug 30) between 12pm-12:30pm.
The premier, taking the nation into confidence on the government's strategy regarding occupied Kashmir following India’s revocation of Article 370, had vowed that Pakistan "will go to any lengths" to support the cause of the oppressed Kashmiri people.
On Wednesday, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that in accordance with the premier's announcement regarding Kashmir Hour, sirens will be sounded at 12 noon and national anthem and Kashmir’s anthem will be played across the country.
All the people and vehicles will come to a standstill" when the national anthems are played.
Pakistani celebrities to show 'solidarity' with Kashmiris
Pakistani artists and celebrities have also jumped into the fray to show their "solidarity" with Kashmiris while appealing to people to boost the government's efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue.
Desperate to keep the Kashmir issue alive in the national imagination, the Pakistan government has urged all Pakistanis to stand for three minutes at 12 noon on Friday to "show solidarity with Kashmiris" as part of "Kashmir Hour."
Several film and television artists have also supported the government's call on Kashmir.
Singer Rabi Peerzada said she will be at Liberty Chowk in Lahore at 12pm on Friday to express solidarity with "our Kashmiri brethren" and exhorted people to join in.
Singer Shehzad Roy said he would also observe 'Kashmir Hour' in Karachi on Friday while actors Fakhar Alam and Faisal Qureshi said they too would participate.
The decision comes at a time of high tension between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
"I want to give this message to Kashmiris that we stand by you and will continue to do so. It is sad that your independence struggle was presented as terrorism. Kashmir is our jugular vein and we will go to any lengths to protect it."
His reaction came after the Indian government earlier in the day decided to revoke Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
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