–Pakistan Army kills five Indian soldiers, injures several and destroys bunkers in retaliatory fire
–India’s Independence Day observed as black day across Pakistan to express solidarity with Kashmiri people
RAWALPINDI/LAHORE: At least three Pakistani soldiers were martyred in unprovoked Indian firing along the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday, as Pakistanis marked Aug 15 –the independence day of India– as a black day across the country.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan Army retaliated, killing five Indian soldiers, wounding several, and destroying several of their bunkers along the LoC. The martyred soldiers were Lance Naik Taimoor, Naik Tanveer, and Sepoy Ramazan.
In efforts to divert attention from precarious situation in IOJ&K,Indian Army increases firing along LOC.
3 Pakistani soldiers embraced shahadat. Pakistan Army responded effectively. 5 Indian soldiers killed, many injured, bunkers damaged. Intermittent exchange of fire continues. pic.twitter.com/wx1RoYdiKE
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 15, 2019
ISPR chief Major Gen Asif Ghafoor added that the Indian army had increased firing along the LoC as part of “efforts to divert attention from [the] precarious situation in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir”.
The development at a time when tensions between the two neighbouring countries have touched an all-time high since the Pulwama incident in Feb this year.
COUNTRYWIDE RALLIES MARK BLACK DAY:
Meanwhile, to express solidarity with Kashmiris, the Indian Independence Day was being observed as ‘Black Day’ across the country and de facto border – Line of Control (LoC) – in occupied Kashmir. The decision to dedicate Independence Day to the Kashmiris and their just struggle for their right of self-determination was made during a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting on August 7.
The ‘Black Day’ was observed in protest against the Indian move to abrogate Article 370 of its constitution and strip occupied Kashmir of its special status through a rushed presidential decree on August 5.
National flags flew at half-mast and black flags were hoisted across the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), in protest to nefarious Indian designs to destroy regional stability in addition to protest rallies.
Major rallies were organised in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar. The participants of the rallies, carrying Pakistan and Kashmiri flags, vowed to support Kashmiris of the occupied region in their right to self-determination.
In Lahore, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Mashal Mullick, wife of pro-freedom Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik, addressed the rally at Charing Cross (Faisal Chowk), thronged by people from all walks of life.
In Islamabad, former finance minister Asad Umar addressed the rally. He said the Pakistan Army would leave no stone unturned to protect Kashmiri people and that the government stands by them through thick and thin.
Meanwhile, the government of Punjab issued instructions to all the provincial commissioners, the deputy commissioners and heads of government institutions of 36 districts to wear black armbands as a protest in the rallies.
A gathering of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was held in Azad Kashmir to express solidarity with the Kashmiris while the Hurriyat leaders held a demonstration outside the Indian High Commission and a rally in Rawalpindi.
Seminars were organised to highlight the plight of oppressed Kashmiris who are under strict curfew and communication blackout for the tenth consecutive day.
Fearing unrest, India snapped telecommunications and imposed a curfew in the part of Kashmir it controls on August 4, a day before the surprise presidential order.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, in a conversation with the media at Peshawar Press Club, also condemned India’s Hindu nationalist government and said that people across the world who believe that residents of occupied Kashmir are being persecuted, were observing Aug 15 as black day.
The SAPM said that expressing solidarity with Kashmiris was “in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision”.
“Pakistan’s independence celebration is incomplete until Kashmir is free,” she said. “The partition of India will remain incomplete until the region is free.”
She further said that the prime minister had taken a stand for oppressed Kashmiris on international forums and as a result, the United Nations Security Council had called a session to discuss the Kashmir dispute for the first time in 50 years.
Awan also highlighted Prime Minister Imran’s address in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Assembly yesterday, where he had called out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and warned that Pakistan will respond to “every brick with a stone”.
She said that the Hindu supremacist ideology followed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — that is believed to be the parent group of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party — had made it hard for minorities to survive in India.
“Today, there is no place for minorities in India, be it Muslims, Sikhs or any other group.”
On August 5, making a mockery of so-called world’s largest democracy, India’s Narendra Modi government unilaterally changed the constitutional status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region by revoking the occupied region’s special status through a presidential order, stoking pro-freedom sentiments in Kashmiris and putting the entire subcontinent at risk of a nuclear war.