Pakistan to mark 1st year of stripping Kashmir status
Pakistan on Friday said it will mark Aug. 5 as the Day of Exploitation in solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Kashmir.
On this day last year, the Indian government stripped the Muslim-majority disputed state of its autonomy. Jammu and Kashmir was also split into two federally administered territories.
Simultaneously, New Delhi locked the region down, detaining thousands of people that include dozens of top politicians, imposing movement restrictions and enforcing a communications blackout.
Addressing reporters in the capital Islamabad, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said one minute of silence will be observed across the country to give a message of peace on this day, followed by a solidarity march in the federal and provincial capital.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the Azad Kashmir Assembly [Pakistan-administered Kashmir] on Aug. 5 to give Kashmiris the message of solidarity and let them know they are not alone in their just right of achieving freedom from the illegal occupation of India," Qureshi told reporters, in remarks aired on state-run radio and television.
He said they will also present a memorandum to the United Nations observers in Islamabad while the main Kashmir highway in Islamabad will be renamed Srinagar Highway.
He directed his country's diplomats across the world to play a leading role and highlight the Kashmir issue in all capitals.
"We have decided to enhance diplomatic outreach to significantly highlight the Indian oppressions in IIOJ&K [Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir], will contact the global leaders and also will send letters to many of them," he said.
The top diplomat thanked Muslim countries including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia for supporting his country's stance on Kashmir.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965, and 1971 -- two of them over the disputed territory.
Some groups in Indian-administered Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.