Pakistan on Thursday observed a “Black Day” in protest against New Delhi’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy and the security lockdown imposed in the state since August 5, PTI reported. Pakistan’s protests coincided with India’s Independence Day celebrations.
Black flags were hoisted on roof tops and vehicles across the country to express solidarity with Kashmiris. Protest rallies were held in major cities, and seminars were organised at various places to highlight Pakistan’s stand on the Kashmir matter.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the foreign office, Inter-Services Public Relations, Radio Pakistan, and many others replaced their social media pictures with black squares.
Newspapers in Pakistan printed editions with black borders and flags on government buildings were flown at half mast, Reuters reported.
Protests were also due to be held in the capital of the so-called Azad Kashmir in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Imran Khan questioned the international community’s silence on the Kashmir matter. “In IOK [India-occupied Kashmir], 12 days of curfew, presence of extra troops in an already heavily militarised occupied territory, sending in of RSS goons, complete communication blackout; with the example of Modi’s earlier ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Gujarat,” he said in a tweet.
“Will world silently witness another Srebrenica-type massacre and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in IOK?” the Pakistan prime minister asked. “I want to warn international community if it allows this to happen, it will have severe repercussions and reactions in the Muslim world, setting off radicalisation and cycles of violence.”
On Wednesday, Khan had promised to raise the Kashmir matter at all international forums, and claimed that international organisations silent on the matter would be responsible if a war broke out between India and Pakistan.
The symbolic protests in Pakistan came amid growing frustration in Islamabad at the lack of international response to India’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan was isolated diplomatically and faced “a world in denial” over the situation in Kashmir, Dawn said in an editorial on Thursday.
Pakistan is attempting to raise the matter at the United Nations Security Council, which may discuss it on Friday, and has sought China’s help. China claims part of Ladakh as its territory.
In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the old system in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh encouraged nepotism, corruption and dynasty rule. Speaking from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort, Modi said the country could now proclaim it has “one nation, one Constitution”.
On Wednesday, permanent Security Council member Russia had supported India’s moves, saying the dispute should be resolved bilaterally. The United States has called India’s decision an internal matter for New Delhi. Poland, which is the chair of the UN Security Council for August, said earlier this week that Kashmir was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan, and asked the two countries to sort out their differences through talks.
According to the Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore Declaration of 1999, Kashmir is a bilateral matter.
Last week, Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India over Kashmir, downgraded diplomatic ties, suspended trade relations, and halted the Samjhauta and Thar Express train services between the two countries, and a bus service between New Delhi and Lahore.