The Pakistani government on Thursday claimed that the efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan had helped the Kashmir matter become a global concern as “Stand with Kashmir” slogans flashed at the iconic Times Square in New York City on Wednesday.
Slogans such as “restore human rights”, “stand with Kashmir”, “let Kashmir speak” and “free Kashmir” were displayed, according to photos and videos on social media. Several world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Imran Khan, are currently in New York City to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
India imposed a communications blackout, detained Kashmiri political leaders and put restrictions on public movement on August 5 before revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. It also split the state into two Union Territories. Though India has claimed that the situation is getting back to normal and communication restrictions are being lifted gradually, activists and journalists claim the curbs are still in place in most places in the state.
There was outrage in Pakistan after India decided to scrap the special status. Pakistan stopped trade with India, downgraded diplomatic relations and wrote several letters to the United Nations. It has also attempted to raise the spectre of war in international fora. On Wednesday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded that the United Nations hold a plebiscite in Kashmir.
At an event in the United States’ Texas on Sunday, Modi defended his government’s recent decisions regarding Kashmir and criticised Pakistan. He also asked the huge audience at the NRG Stadium in Houston to give a standing ovation to Indian parliamentarians who approved the decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
Several people on social media shared videos and images of the Times Square. Here are some reactions: